Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "A history of the Arabs in the Sudan and some account of the people who preceded them and of the tribes inhabiting Darfur"

See other formats






C. F. CLAY, Manager 




















'bo , l( . 3S, 



Mr de Herbelot pretends that the Arabs of the Defart 
exceed the other Arabs in Wit and Cunning. ...Be this as it 
will ; both the one and the other are mightily fond of the 
Noblenefs of their Extraction. 

The Chevalier D'Arvieux, Travels in Arabia the 
Desart (1718 ad ), pp. 96-7. 



ONE of the first steps which anyone desirous of studying the 
history of a people naturally takes is to consult such native 
records as may be extant and appraise their importance as evidence. 

Following this course in the case of the Sudan Arab one is sur- 
prised to find that a large proportion of the population is in possession 
of scraps of paper which they regard as having a historical value. The 
owner often cannot read, but he is prepared to produce for inspection 
a handful of disreputable papers, torn, frayed and filthy. Some turn 
out to be unintelligible contracts concerning the cultivation of a plot 
of land, some are extracts from a manual of prayer and ablution, 
some are promissory notes: others contain strings of names, pedi- 
grees of the owners to 'Abbas the uncle of the Prophet or some other 
notable. If the native is asked the source of the genealogical frag- 
ment either he thinks that he found it among his father's papers or 
says that it is an extract which was taken for him from a larger work 
owned by some "feki." In the latter case one's hopes are perhaps 
raised by a graphic description of an enormous tome, centuries old, 
said to have been composed "by el Samarkandi perchance; but God 
knows!" And one proceeds in search of the "feki." Then comes 
disillusionment. Sometimes the manuscript has been lost or burnt, 
or it has been lent to a relative at the other end of the country, or 
eaten by white ants. Sometimes the "feki" admits possession and 
with great care produces a few pages of genealogies obviously written 
within the last few decades. In this case one is generally referred 
for the original manuscript to some other "feki" who either lives 
beyond one's reach or died some years ago. 

In time, however, one does hear of some accessible "feki" whose 
manuscript has been the fons et origo of many of the ragged shreds 
in circulation and from him one learns that he or his father copied 
this "nisba" fifteen or twenty years ago, from the copy that was in 
possession of some other learned "feki." 

Occasionally one finds a "nisba" that is known to have been in 
the hands of the owner's family for several generations. An original 
author's manuscript a century or more old I have never seen, though 
such may possibly exist. 



The chief reason for this disappearance of documents is not so 
much the reluctance of the "fekis" to risk their possessions in alien 
hands, though this motive has to be combated where confidence has 
not been established, as the indubitable fact that both the Mahdi 
and the Khalifa, and especially the latter, gave stringent orders for 
the destruction of all modern books and documents 1 . The Mahdi 
feared that research might tend to invalidate his pretensions to 
be the Expected One, and the Khalifa, who was a Ta'aishi from 
Darfur, was only interested in genealogy to the extent of declining 
to appear less nobly born than his subjects. Consequently vast 
numbers of documents were deliberately burnt during the period of 
Dervish rule, many others were buried and so lost, or destroyed by 
white ants, and only a few survived to the present day. 

My first impression after examining a medley of these copies 
fragments and extracts was to the effect that they were worthless ; but 
a closer acquaintance shewed, on the one hand, that there were 
various scattered remarks and indications which had a certain value 
in themselves, and, on the other, that some passages recurred almost 
word for word in the majority of the longer "nisbas" and pointed 
to a common origin dating from about the sixteenth century. 

It also became more and more clear that, however faulty the details 
might be, the larger tribal genealogies, particularly those connected 
with the name of el Samarkandi, contained in the form of a genea- 
logical parable much valuable information concerning the inter- 
relation of the tribes of the Sudan. 

Even allowing that the intrinsic value of these documents is com- 
paratively small it is none the less true that anyone wishing to con- 
duct researches into the history or sociology of the country would 
have the unwelcome choice either of delaying his work to collect 
specimens of these manuscripts from all over the country, and then 
examining them for what they were worth, or of ignoring the docu- 
mentary evidence altogether. If he could afford the delay he would 
presumably choose the former alternative and would rapidly find 
himself sinking deeper and deeper into a morass of contradictions 
and inaccuracies from which a year or two of work would hardly 
serve to extricate him. To obviate the occurrence of this dilemma and 
smooth a little the path of research, by collecting, comparing and 
annotating such documents as I could find in the course of my work 

1 Cp., for the case of the Mahdi, Slatin Ch. vm. 


in various districts of the Sudan, was the object I set before myself 
in the first instance. If the zeal of a fool has outrun angelic discretion 
I can only hope that someone, with a more comprehensive grasp of 
the necessary scientific and historical material than I could ever 
pretend to, will be stimulated to undertake the task so imperfectly 
attempted in the following pages. The general plan adopted is as 
follows. The ethnological characteristics of the people who lived in 
the various quarters of the northern Sudan before the coming of the 
Muhammadans is first discussed in Part I, since it is to them that the 
non-Arab element in the population of the present day is chiefly due. 
The extent to which the institution of slavery has affected the racial 
type of the Sudan Arab is perforce ignored. Its consideration would 
have postulated a knowledge, which I do not possess, of half the 
negro races of Central Africa; and in the second place the fact that 
certain racial and cultural modifications have been caused by breed- 
ing from slave women, chiefly Nuba, Dinka, Fur and FERTiT, need 
only to be kept in mind throughout and their exact definition and 
classification is rendered less essential. 

Secondly, in Part II, an attempt is made to trace the earlier history 
of some of the more famous Arabian tribes of whom branches eventu- 
ally settled in the Sudan, and to accentuate the degree of racial con- 
nexion or distinction existing between them. 

A more general account of the fortunes of the Arabs in Egypt 
from the seventh to the fifteenth century, shewing some of the 
causes that led to their southward movements and the conditions 
that accompanied these, is given in a second chapter; and at the same 
time, where there are any data forthcoming, some note is taken of the 
course of events in the Sudan during the same period. 

Part III is occupied with a series of notes upon the history and 
composition of the Arab tribes now in the Sudan. 

Part IV opens with a chapter on the origin value and limitations 
of the native manuscripts. Then follow translations of thirty-two 
native manuscripts, with explanatory notes, appendices and genea- 
logical trees. It will be objected that some of them are worthless 
excerpts and might well have been omitted. Two considerations 
chiefly induced me to include them. In the first place this portion 
is intended to represent a small corpus of manuscripts typical of the 
country rather than a Golden Treasury of historical fact. In the 
second place it is instructive to note the extent to which variations 

M.S.I. b 


and coincidences respectively occur in the presentation of the same 
facts by a number of documents which for the most part are either 
copied one from the other or traceable to a single source. One not 
only learns something of the accuracy or inaccuracy of the particular 
facts stated — a small matter as a rule — but is also enabled to gauge 
more confidently the degree of reliability which is likely to attach to 
native manuscripts in general when circumstances do not admit of 
the application of the comparative test. 

H. A. M. 

5 October, 1921 



Introduction , v 

Bibliography of Editions referred to ... xiii 

Part I 



1. The Pre-Islamic Arabian Element .... 3 

2. The Nubians, the Nuba and the Libyan element . 12 

3. The Bega, the Blemyes and the Nuba of Meroe . 35 

4. The non-Arab races of Darfur 52 

Appendix i. A tabular comparison of the Berti and 

Zaghawa dialects . . . . .118 

Appendix 2. A tabular comparison of the dialects of the 
people of Mi'dob, the Birked and the 
Barabra . . . . . . .119 

Appendix 3. A tabular comparison of the dialect of the 
Fur with those of certain of the "Ferti't" 
tribes ........ 120 

Appendix 4. A short vocabulary of the Masah't language 122 

Appendix 5. The Tungur-Fur of Dar Furnung . . 122 

Part II 


1. The Progress through Egypt in the Middle Ages of 

certain Arab tribes now represented in the Sudan 131 

Appendix. On the penetration of the Sudan by Berber 

Tribes 151 

Note to Genealogical Trees 1 , 2 and 3 (from Wusten- 

feld) 154 

2. The General Progress of the Arabs through Egypt 

and their invasions of dongola . . . .155 

Genealogical Trees 1,2, and 3 . between 192 and 193 



Part III 



Introduction 195 


1. The GA'ALifN and Danagla Group .... 197 

(a) The Bedayria, Shuwayhat and Terayfia . 201 

(b) TheGhodiat 203 

(c) The Batahfn 206 

(d) The Rubatab, 'Awadia, Manasir, Fadliin, 
Mfrafab and Dubab, etc 209 

(e) TheHakimab 212 

(/) The Gawabra 212 

(g) The Shaikia 213 

(h) The Gawama'a, the Gima'a, the Gamu'ia, 

the Gimi'ab and the Gema'ab . . .221 

(j) The Magidia and Kurtan . . . 23 1 

(k) The Ga'aliin proper 231 

2. The Guhayna Group 237 

(a) The Rufa'a group, the Guhayna proper, the 
Lahawiin, the 'Abdullah and the Inkerriab . 239 

(b) The Beni 'Omran 249 

(c) The 'Awamra, the Khawalda, the 'Amarna 

and the Fadni'a ...... 249 

(d) The Shukria and the Dubasiin . . . 250 

(e) The Dubani'a or Dubaina . . . -253 
The " Fezara " group 255 

(/) DarHamid 256 

(g) The Zayadia ...... 262 

(h) The Beni Gerar 264 

(/) The Baza'a 264 

(k) TheShenabla . .... 265 
(I) The Ma'alia and the Ma'akla . . .267 
(m) The Dwayh or Dwayhi'a . . . .269 

(«) The Mesallamia 270 



3. The Guhayna Group (continued) 271 

1. The Bakkara 271 

(a) The Beni Seh'm ...... 276 

(b) The Awlad Hamayd 277 

(c) The Habbania 278 

(d) The Hawazma 280 

(e) The Messfria, Humr, Ta'elba, Hoti'a, Sa'ada 

and Tergam ....... 284 

(/) The Rizaykat 290 

(g) The Ta'aisha 292 

(h) The Beni Helba 293 

(/) The Beni Khuzam 295 

(k) The Beni Husayn 296 

(I) The Bashi'r 296 

(m) The Salamat, Beni Rashid and Ziud . . 296 

2. The Nawaiba, Mahn'a, Mahamid, 'Eraykat and 
'Atayfat . . . . . . . . 298 

Appendix. The Genealogical Trees of the Bakkara (I-V) 301 

4. The Guhayna Group (continued) 307 

(a) The Kababi'sh 307 

(b) The Mogharba or Moghrabin . . .316 

(c) The Hamar 319 

5. The Kawahla Group 324 

(a) The Kawahla 324 

(b) TheAhamda 328 

(c) The Hasania and the Husaynat . . .329 

6. The Kenana and Deghaym 330 

7. The Rikabia 333 

8. The Hawawir, Gellaba Howara, Wahia and Kor6bat 335 

9. The 'Ababda and Kerrarish 338 

10. The Kerriat 340 

11. The Southern Mahass 341 

Appendix on certain Burial Customs on the Blue Nile 342 

12. The Hamran 344 

13. (a) The Rashafda and Zebaydia . . . -345 
(b) The Hadareb and Hudur .... 346 


Abu el Farag ("Barhebraeus"). Ecclesiastical History. Ed. Pococke, 

with Latin translation from the Syriac. 
Abu el Farag Muhammad ibn Ishak " el Warrak," of Baghdad. Author 

of the Fihrist, a bibliographical treatise written in 988 A.D. Ed. 

Fluegel. Leipzig, 1871-2. 
Abu el Fida (1273-1331 a.d.). Historia Ante-islamica. Ed. Fleischer 

(Arabic and Latin), 183 1. 
Abu Salih (fl. c. 1200 a.d.). The Churches and Monasteries of Egypt and 

some neighbouring countries. Attributed to Abu Salih the Armenian. 

Ed. and trans, by B. T. A. Evetts, M.A., with added notes by 

A. J. Butler, M.A. Oxford (Clarendon Press), 1895. 
Agathemerus. Ap. Geographos Minores (q.v.). 
Ammianus Marcellinus. Rerum Gestarum Libri xxxi (quae supersunt). 

Ed. Erfurdt. Lipsiae, 1808. 
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, the. Ed. Lt.-Col. Count Gleichen. 2 vols. 

London, 1905. 
Archaeological Survey of Nubia. (See sub name of author.) 
Artemidorus. See "Fragmentum epitomes xi librorum Artemidori 

Ephesii" in Periple de Marcien d'Heraclec.ou supplement aux 

dernieres editions des petits geographies. E. Miller. Paris, 1839. 
el Azraki. History of Mekka. Ed. Wustenfeld. Arabic text. 
Baker (Sir S.). (a) The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia and the Sword 

Hunters of the Hamran Arabs. London, 1867. (b) The Albert 

N'Yanza Great Basin of the Nile, and Explorations.... 2 vols. 

London, 1866. 
el Bakri. Kitab el Masalik wa '1 Mamalik. (Cited by Ibn Khaldun, Leo, 

Cooley, etc.) 
Barhebraeus. (See Abu el Farag.) 
Barth (H.). Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa 1849-55. 

5 vols. Publ. 1857-8. 
Bates (O.). The Eastern Libyans. (Cited by Giuffrida-Ruggeri, q.v.) 
Beccari (C). Rerum Aethiopicarum Scriptores Occidentales Inediti a 

saeculo xvi ad xix. 12 vols. Rome, 1903. 
Beckett (H. W.). "Nubia and the Berberine." Cairo Scientific Journ., 

Aug. 191 1. 
Beech (M. W. H.). "Pre-Bantu Occupants of East Africa." Man, March, 

I 9 I 5- 
Belzoni (G.). Narrative of the Operations and recent Discoveries... in 

Egypt and Nubia London, 1821. 

Bent (J. T.). The Sacred City of the Ethiopians. London, edn. of 1896. 


Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicorum. Ed. M. J. de Goeje. Leyden, 

Bibliotheca Patrum ascetica, sive selecta veterum patrum de Christiana et 

religiosa perfectione opuscula. 6 vols. Paris, 1661-1665. (Quoted 

by Quatremere, q.v.) 
Blochet. (See Makrizi.) 
el Bokhari. Kitab el Tagrid el Sarih li Ahadith el Gama'i el Sahih li 

'1 Husayn ibn el Mubarak el Zebaydi, i.e. a condensed edition of 

el Bokhari's Sahih, by Husayn el Zebaydi, publ. 1322 a.h. (1904). 
Bouriant. (See Makrizi.) 
Breasted (J. H.). (a) A History of the Ancient Egyptians. London, 1908 

(Historical Series), (b) Ancient Records of Egypt. 5 vols. Chicago, 

Brown (R.). Edition of The History and Description of Africa..., by 

Leo Africanus {q.v.) in the Hakluyt Society's publications. 1896. 
Browne (W. G.). Travels in Africa, Egypt and Syria from 1792 to 1798. 

London, 1799. 
Bruce (J.). Travels to discover the Source of the Nile, in the years 1768- 

1773. 6 vols. Edinburgh, 1790. 
Budge (E. A. W.). The Egyptian Sudan, its History and Monuments. 1907. 
Burckhardt (J. L.). (a) Travels in Nubia. London, 1819. (b) Notes on 

the Bedouins and Wahabys collected... by the late John Lewis Burck- 
hardt. 2 vols. London, 183 1. 
Burton (R. F.). (a) Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Meccah and Medinah. 

London, 1879 (1st edn. 1855-6). (b) The Land of Midian. 2 vols. 

London, 1879. 
Burton (R. F.) and Drake (C. F. T.). Unexplored Syria. London, 1872. 
Bury (G. Wyman). (a) The Land of Uz. London, 191 1. (b) Arabia 

Infelix. London, 1915. 
Butler, (a) The Arab Conquest of Egypt and the last thirty years of the 

Roman Dominion. Oxford, 1902. (b) (see Abu Salih). 
Cailliaud. Voyage a Meroe, au Fleuve Blanc, au dela de Fazoql...fait 

dans les annees 1819, 1820, 1821 et 1822. Paris, 1826-7. 3 vols. 
Cameron (D. A.). "On the Tribes of the Eastern Sudan." Journ. Roy. 

Anthrop. Inst., Feb. 1887. 
Carbou (H.). La Region du Tchad et du Ouadai'. 2 vols. Paris, 1912. 

(Publ. de la Fac. des Lettres dAlger.... Tome xlvii.) 
Carette (A. E. H.). "Recherches sur l'origine et les migrations des 

principales tribus de l'Afrique septentrionale et particulierement de 

rAlgerie." Exploration Scient. de PAlgerie. (Sciences historiques et 

geographiques, 3.) Paris, 1853. 
Carette Bouvet (P.) and Neuville (H.). "Les Pierres Gravees de Siaro 

et de Daga Beid (Somal)." L Anthropologic, vol. xvn, 1906, p. 383. 
Caussin de Perceval (A. P.). Essai sur l'histoire des Arabes avant 

l'lslamisme.... Paris, 1847. 3 vols. 
Claudian. Opera quae extant omnia, cum notis Heinsii et Burmanni. 
Amsterdam, 1760. See the fourth of the " Eidyllia," entitled " Nilus," 
in the above. 


Claudius Ptolemaeus. (See Ptolemaeus.) 

Cooley (W. D.). The Negroland of the Arabs examined and explained. 

London, 1841. 
Crowfoot (J. W.). (a) " Some Lacunae in the Anthropology of the A.-E. 

Sudan." Brit. Assoc. Aug. 1907. (b) "Some Red Sea Ports in the 

A.-E. Sudan." Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc. vol. xxxvn, 191 1. (c) "The 

Island of Meroe." Arch. Survey of Nubia, Mem. xix, 191 1. 

(d) " Customs of the Rubatab." Sudan Notes and Records, vol. 1, 

No. 2, 1918. 
Cuny. Journal de Voyage du docteur Charles Cuny de Siout a El-Obeid 

du 22 Nov. 1857 au 5 Avril 1858. Par M. V. A. Malte-Brun. Paris, 

Cust (R. N.). A sketch of the modern languages of Africa. (Trubner's 

Oriental Series.) London, 1883. 
D'Arvieux (Chevalier). Travels in Arabia the Desart. London, 1718. 
Davis (N.). Evenings in my tent; or, wanderings in Balad Ejjareed. 

London, 1854. 
Deh^rain (H.). Le Soudan figyptien sous Mehemet-Ali. 1898. 
Denham, Clapperton and Oudney. Narrative of travels and discoveries 

in Northern and Central Africa in the years 1822, 1823 anc * 1824. 

London, 1826. 
Diodorus Siculus. Bibliothecae historicae libri qui supersunt. Interprete 

Laurentio Rhodomano, recensuit Petrus Wesselingius. Amsterdam, 

Denon (V.). Voyages dans la basse et la haute Egypte pendant les cam- 

pagnes de Bonaparte en 1798 et 1799. London, 1807. 
Doughty (C. M.). (a) Travels in Arabia Deserta. Cambridge, 1888. 

(b) Wanderings in Arabia (an abridgement of (a), ed. E. Garnett). 

2 vols. London, 1908. 
Doutte" (E.). Magie et Religion dans TAfrique du Nord. Alger, 1908. 
Elliot Smith (G.). (a) The Ancient Egyptians and their Influence.... 

London and New York, 191 1 (Harper's Library), (b) " The People 

of Egypt." Cairo Sc. Journal, March, 1909. (c) In Arch. Surv. 

Nubia, Rep. 1907-8: "The Racial Problem." (d) Ibid. Bulletin 3, 

Ensor(F. S.). Incidents on a journey through Nubia to Darfoor. London, 

Eratosthenes. (Quoted by Strabo, q.v) 
Escayrac de Lauture (Le Comte de). (a) Le Desert et le Soudan. Paris, 

1853. (b) "Memoire sur le Sudan." Bull, de la Soc. de Geogr. 

Paris, 1855. _ 
Eusebius. De Vita Constantini (quoted by Quatremere and Letronne). 
Evetts. (See Abu Salih.) 

Farnell. "The Golden Bough." Art. in Quarterly Review, April, 1915. 
Felkin (Dr R. W.). " Notes on the For Tribe," in Vol. 13 of Proceedings 

of Roy. Soc. of Edinburgh (1884-5), pp. 205 ff. 
Fihrist. (See Abu '1 Farag Muhammad.) 
Flamand (M. G. B.). "Les Pierres ecrites (Hadjrat Mektoubat) du Nord 


de l'Afrique et specialement de la region d'ln Salah." L'Anthro- 

pologie, vol. xii, 1901. 
Fournel (H.). Les Berbers, fitude sur la conquete de l'Afrique par les 

Arabes. Paris, 1875-81. 
Gaillard (R.) and Poutrin (L.). [Review in Man of March, 1915, of] 

"litude Anthropologique des Populations des Regions du Tchad et 

du Kanem." Paris, 1914. 
Gautier (E. F.). "Gravures Rupestres sud-Oranaises et Sahariennes." 

LAnthropologie, vol. xv, 1904. 
GelAl el Din Al Siuti (1445-1505 a.d.). Husn el Mahadira fi akhbar 

Masr wa '1 Kahira. 2 vols. Litho. Cairo. 
Genesis, The Book of. 

Geographi Graeci Minores. Paris, 1855-61. Ed. C. Miiller. 
Geza Rohaim. "Killing the Divine King." Art. in Man of Feb. 1915. 
Gibbon (J.). The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Ed. J. B. Bury, 

Giuffrida-Ruggeri (V.). "Were the Pre-Dynastic Egyptians Libyans or 

Ethiopians?" Man, vol. xv, No. 4, April, 1915. 
Griffith (F. LI.), (a) " Meroitic Inscriptions. Parti. Soba to Dangel." 

In Mem. xix of Arch. Surv. Nubia ("The Island of Meroe"). 

(b) The Nubian Texts of the Christian Period. Berlin, 1913. 
Hagi Khalfa. Lexicon Bibliographicum et Encyclopedicum a Mustafa 

Ben Abdallah Katib Jelebi dicto et nomine Haji Khalfa, edidit latine 

vertit et commentario indicibusque instruxit G. Fluegel. 7 vols. 

Leipzig, 1835-58. 
Hall (H. R.). (a) Review in Man of May, 1912, of the Publications 

of the E. B. Coxe, Jr., Expedition to Nubia. (See sub Woolley and 

M c Iver.) 
Hamaker. Specimen Catalogi codicum MSS orientalium.... Paris, 1820. 
Hamilton (C). The Hedaya, or Guide : a Commentary on the Mussulman 

Laws. Transl. by Hamilton. 2nd edn. London, 1870. 
Hamilton (W.). Remarks on Several Parts of Turkey. Part I, ./Egyptiaca, 

or some Account of the Antient and Modern State of Egypt as obtained 

in the years 1801-1802. Publ. 1809. 
Hamy (E. T.). "Les pays des Troglodytes." L'Anthropologie, vol. 11, 

Harrison (Miss Jane). Ancient Art and Ritual. (Home University 

Library, 191 3.) 
Hartmann (R.). (a) Skizze der Nillander. Berlin, 1866. (b) Die Nigritier. 

Berlin, 1876. 
Harvard African Studies. Varia Africana, vol. I, 1917; vol. 11, 1918. 

Cambridge (Mass.), U.S.A. 
Helmolt. The World's History, vol. ill, "Western Asia — Africa." 

Ed. H. F. Helmolt. London, 1903. 
Herodotus. The History of Herodotus. Transl. G. Rawlinson. Ed. E. H. 

Blakeney, 1910. (In Everyman's Library.) 
Holroyd. "Notes on a Journey to Kordofan in 1836-7." Journ. Roy. 

Geogr. Soc. vol. ix, Part 2, Feb. 1839. 


Hornemann (F. K.). The Journal of F. Horneman's travels from Cairo 
to Mourzouk, the capital of the Kingdom of Fezzan, in Africa. In the 
years 1797-8. London, 1802. 

Hrdlicka. "The Natives of Kharga Oasis, Egypt." Smithsonian Misc. 
Coll. vol. 59, No. 1. Washington, 1912. 

Huart (C). A History of Arabic Literature. London, 1903. 

Hughes (Rev. T. P.). A Dictionary of Islam. London, 1895. 

Ibn el Athir (i 160-1232 A.D.). Kamil.... Edn. Arab. Cairo, 1301 A.H., 
el Azhar Press. 

Ibn Batuta. Voyages d'lbn Batoutah. Arabic text, transl. by C. Defre- 
mery and Dr B. R. Sanguinetti. Paris, 1853-9. 

Ibn Dora yd (Abu Bukr Muhd. ibn Husayn el Azdi). Carmen Maksura 
dictum.... Ed. Boisen, Hauniae, 1828. 

Ibn Dukmak (d. 1406 a. d.). Description de l'Egypte.... Publ. Cairo, 
1893, by Dr Vollers. 

Ibn Hisham. Sira Sayyidna Muhammad (750 a.d.). Ed. Wiistenfeld 
(Das Leben Muhammed's...). 2 vols. Gottingen, 1858-60. 

Ibn Ishak. (Quoted by Ibn Hisham.) 

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1405 a.d.). (a) Histoire des Berberes et des dynasties 
musulmanes de l'Afrique septentrionale. Parts transl. by M. le Baron 
de Slane. Algiers, 1852-6. (b) Kitab el 'Ibar wa Diwan el Mubtada 
el Khabr fi Ayyam el Arab wa '1 Agam wa '1 Berber.... (The same 
work as (a), but in full.) Arabic text. Edn. printed at Bulak Press, 
Cairo, 1284 a.h. 

Ibn KhallikAn. Biographical Dictionary. Transl. de Slane. 3 vols. 
Paris, 1842-5. 

Ibn Sa'i'd. (Quoted by Makrizi and Ibn Khaldun, q.v.) 

Ibn Wadih el Ya'akCbi. History.... Ed. Houtsma, 1883. 

iDRfsi. Geographie d'Pidrisi. Transl. in French by P. A. Jaubert. Paris, 
1836, 1840. (Also in vol. v of Recueil de Voyages et de Memoires 
publie par la Societe de Geographie, Paris, 1824.) 

Jackson (H. C). Tooth of Fire, being some account of the ancient 
Kingdom of Sennar. Oxford, 1912. 

Jaussen. Coutumes des Arabes du Pays de Moab. Paris, 1908. 

Johnston (Sir H. H.). (a) The Nile Quest. London, 1903. (b) A History 
of the Colonization of Africa by Alien Races. 1913. (c) " A survey of 
the Ethnography of Africa : and the Former Racial and Tribal Migra- 
tions on that Continent." Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. vol. xliii, 1913. 

Junker (Dr W.). Travels in Africa during the years 1875-78. Transl. 
A. H. Keane. 1890. 

Keane (A. H.). (a) Article "Sudan." Encycl. Brit, (b) Man Past and 
Present. Cambridge, 1899. 

Klippel (E.). "Etudes sur le folklore Bedouin de l'Egypte." Bull. Soc. 
Khediv. de Geogr., Serie VII, Num. 10. Cairo, 1911. 

Koran. (See Sale.) 

Lane (E. W.). An account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern 
Egyptians written in Egypt during the years 1833-5. London, 1836. 

Lane-Poole (S.). (a) A History of Egypt in the Middle Ages. London, 


1901. (b) "The Sultanate of Egypt." Art. in Quarterly Rev., April, 

Lang (A.). "The Mystery of the Mother-in-Law." Art. in Morning 

Post of March 8, 1912. 
Leo Africanus. The History and Description of Africa. Done into English, 

1600, by John Pory. Ed. by R. Brown (Hakluyt Soc. Publ.). London, 

Lepsius (R.). (a) Nubische Grammatik. Berlin, 1880. (b) Discoveries in 

Egypt, Ethiopia and the Peninsula of Sinai in the Years 1842-1845. 

2nd edn. London, 1853. (c) Letters from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sinai. 

Transl. J. B. Horner. London, 1853. 
Letronne (A.-J.). "Materiaux pour l'histoire du Christianisme en 

figypte, en Nubie, et en Abyssinie." In Oeuvres Choisies de 

A.-J. Letronne (i re serie, Tome i er ). Paris, 1881. 
Linant (A.). "Journal of a voyage on the White Nile...." Journ. Roy. 

Geogr. Soc. vol. 11, 1832. 
Lisan el 'Arab. (By Gemal el Din Abu el Fadl Muhd. ibn Mukarram, 

born 1232, died in Cairo 131 1.) 
Ludolfus (Job). A new History of Ethiopia. 2nd edn. Transl. J. P. Gent. 

London, 1684. 
MacMichael (H. A.), (a) "Rock Pictures in Kordofan." Journ. Roy. 

Anthr. Inst. vol. xxxix, 1909. (b) "The Kababish. Some remarks on 

the Ethnology of a Sudan Arab Tribe." Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. 

vol. xl, 1910. (c) "The Zaghawa and People of Gebel Midob." 

Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. vol. xlii, 1912. (d) The Tribes of Northern 

and Central Kordofan. Cambridge (Univ. Press), 1912. (e) Camel 

Brands used in Kordofan. Cambridge, 191 3. (/)" Nubian elements 

in Darfur." Sudan Notes and Records, vol. 1 (1918), No. 1. 
Mahaffy (J. P.). A History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic Dynasty. 

London, 1898. 
MakrIzi (1365-1441 a.d.). (a) El Khetat.... (Description topographique 

de l'figypte et du Caire, traduite en francais par U. Bouriant. 2 vols. 

Paris.) (b) Kitab el Seluk.... (Histoire d'figypte. Traduction fran- 

caisc.par E. Blochet. Paris, 1908.) 
Marmol. LAfriquedeMarmol. (Descripcion general de Affrica.) Transl. 

N. Perrot. 1667. 
Mas'udi (fl. c. 960 a.d.). (a) Les Prairies d'Or. Text and transl. by 

C. B. de Meynard and P. de Courteille. Paris, 1861. 9 vols. 

(b) Historical Encyclopaedia, entitled "Meadows of Gold." Transl. 

A. Sprenger. Vol. 1 only (Orient. Trans. Fund Publ.). London, 

1841. (c) "Kitab el Tanbih wa el Ashraf." Part VIII in de Goeje's 

Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicorum (q.v. above). 
Milne (J. G.). A History of Egypt under Roman Rule. London, 1898. 
Muir (Sir W.). (a) The Life of Mahomet from original sources. 3rd edn. 

London, 1894. (b) The Mameluke or Slave Dynasty of Egypt, 1260- 

1517. Publ. 1896. 
Murray (Miss M.). " Royal Marriages and Matrilinear Descent." Journ. 

Roy. Anthr. Inst. vol. xlv, 1915. 


Nachtigal (G.). (a) Sahara und Sudan. Berlin, 1879. 3 v °l s - (b) Le 
Voyage de Nachtigal au Ouada'i. Transl. to French by J. van Vollen- 
hoven. Paris. 
Na'um Bey Shukayr. (a) Tarikh el Sudan... (History of the Sudan...). 
Arabic text. Cairo, 1904. (b) Tarikh Sina wa '1 'Arab... (History of 
Sinai and the Arabs...). Arabic text. Cairo, 1916. 
Navile (E.). "The Origin of Egyptian Civilization." Smithsonian Rep. 

1907, pp. 549-64. 
Nicholls (W.). The Shaiki'ya, An Account of the Shaikiya Tribes and of 
the History of Dongola Province from the xivth to the xixth Century. 
Dublin, 1913. 
Norden (F. L.). Travels in Egypt and Nubia. Transl. from Danish. 

London, 1757. 
Ockley (S.). History of the Saracens. London, 1708. 
Ohrwalder. (See Wingate.) 

Olympiodorus. (Ap. Photius; quoted by Quatremere and Letronne.) 
Orr (Capt. C. W. J.). The Making of Northern Nigeria. London, 

Paez. Historia Aethiopiae (quoted by Beccari, q.v.). 
Palgrave (W. G.). Narrative of a Year's Journey through Central and 

Eastern Arabia. London and Cambridge, 1865. 
Palladius. Hist. Lausiac, ap. Biblioth. Patrum (quoted by Quatremere). 
Pallme (J.). Travels in Kordofan. London, 1844 (transl.). 
Parkyns (Mansfield), (a) " The Kubbabish Arabs between Dongola and 
Kordofan." Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc. vol. xx, 1851. (b) Life in 
Abyssinia. London, 1853. 
Peacock (H. St G.). A Report on the Land Settlement of the Gezira. 

London, 1913. 
Periplus. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. Transl. from Greek, etc., 

by W. H. Schoff. New York and London, 19 12. 
Petherick (J.), (a) Egypt, the Soudan and Central Africa.... Edinburgh, 
1 86 1. (b) Travels in Central Africa, and Explorations of the Western 
Nile. 2 vols. London, 1869. 
Pliny. Naturalis Historiae, Libri xxxvu. Ex edit. G. Brotier (Delphin 

Pococke (E.). Specimen Historiae Arabum. Ed. J. White. Oxford, 1806. 
Pomponius Mela. De Situ Orbis. Ed. Basle, 1543. 
Poncet. A voyage to ^Ethiopia made in the years 1698, 1699 and 1700. 

Transl. London, 1709. 
Pory. (See Leo Africanus.) 

Priscus. (Quoted by Letronne, Materiaux..., 11, 205 ff.) 
Procopius. "De Bello Persico." In Oeuvres..., ed. P. Maltret. Paris, 

Prout. General Report on the Province of Kordofan 1876. Cairo, 1877. 
Prudhoe. "Extracts from Private Memoranda kept by Lord Prudhoe on 
a journey from Cairo to Sennar in 1829." J ourn - Roy- Geogr. Soc. 
vol. v, 1835. 
Ptolemaeus (Claudius). Geographia. Ed. Carolus Miiller. Paris, 1883. 


Quatremere. Memoires geographiques et historiques sur 1'Iigypte, et sur 

quelques contrees voisines. 2 vols. Paris, 181 1. 
Reisner (G. A.), (a) "The Egyptian Conception of Immortality." Inger- 

soll Lecture 191 1. (b) "Outline of the Ancient History of the Sudan," 

in Sudan Notes and Records, vol. 1. 
" Renseignements Coloniaux...." Supplement to L'Afrique Francaise of 

Dec. 1 9 14. Art. by Capt. Ferrandi. 
Rinn (L.). Les Origines berberes. Eludes linguistiques et ethnologiques. 

Algiers, 1889. 
Robertson Smith (W.). Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia. Cambridge, 

Rogers (E. T.). " Coins of the Tuluni dynasty" (Numism. Orient, iv). 
Roscoe (Rev. J.). The Baganda, An Account of their Native Customs and 

Beliefs. London, 191 1. 
Ruppell. Reisen in Nubien, Kordofan und dem petra'ischen Arabien. 

Frankfurt, 1829. 
Sale (G.). The Koran, commonly called the Alkoran of Mohammed, 

with a Preliminary Discourse. Ed. Warne and Co., London and New 

Sarkissian (G.). Le Soudan Iigyptien. Paris, 1913. 
Schoff. (See Periplus.) 

Schurtz. (Chapter by Schurtz in The World's History. See Helmolt.) 
Schweinfurth (G.). The Heart of Africa. Transl. Frewer. London, 1868. 

2 vols. 
Seligman (C. G.). (a) "Some Aspects of the Hamitic Problem in the 

Anglo-Egyptian Sudan." Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. vol. xliii, 1913. 

(b) "A Prehistoric Site in Northern Kordofan." Ann. of Archaeol. 
and Anthrop. vol. vn, July, 1916 (Liverpool Inst, of Archaeol.). 

(c) "A Neolithic Site in the A.-E. Sudan." Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst, 
vol. xl, 1910. (d) " Ancient Egyptian Beliefs in Modern Egypt." In 
Essays and Studies presented to Wm. Ridgeway. Cambridge, 191 3. (e) 

Address to the Anthropological Section of the British Association 

Manchester, 1915. (/) "An Undescribed Type of Building in the 
Eastern Province of the A.-E. Sudan." Journ. Egypt. Archaeol. vol. II, 
Part in, July, 1915. (g) Article "Nuba" in Hastings' Encyclopaedia 
of Religion and Ethics, (h) "Note on Bisharin." Art. in Man of 
June, 1915. (0 "The Physical Characters of the Nuba of Kordofan." 
Art. in Journ. Roy. Anthr. Inst. vol. XL, 1910. 

Sell (Rev. E.). Essays on Islam. 1901. 

Slatin (Sir R. C). Fire and Sword in the Sudan, 1879-1895. Transl. 

Wingate. London, 1896-7. 
St John (J. A.). Egypt and Mohammed Ali, or Travels in the Valley of 

the Nile. London, 1834. 
Stewart (C. E.). "Extracts from a Report on the Sudan by Lt.-Col. 

Stewart. Khartoum, Feb. 1883." (Appendix to Mahdiism..., q.v. sub 

Strabo. Rerum Geographicarum Libri xvn. Ed. Casaubon, 1620. 
Sulpicius Severus. Ap. Vitae Patrum, ed. 1628 (quoted by Quatremere). 


el Tabari (839-923 a.d.). Chronique d'Abou-Djafar Mohammed Tabari. . . . 

Vol. 1 only. Transl. L. Dubeux. Paris, 1836. (Orient. Trans. Fund 

Theocritus. Idyllia (Quoted by Letronne, q.v.) 
Tremaux (P.). Voyage en Ethiopie au Soudan oriental et dans la Nigritie. 

Paris, 1862. 
el Tunisi (Sheikh Muhammad Bey 'Omar), (a) Voyage au Darfour. 

Transl. Perron. Paris, 1845. (b) Voyage au Ouaday. Transl. Perron 

et Jomard. Paris, 1851. 
Van Dyck (E. A.). History of the Arabs and their Literature. . . . Laibach, 

Vansleb. The present state of Egypt, or A new relation of a late voyage 

into that Kingdom performed in the years 1672 and 1673 (translated). 

London, 1678. 
Volney (C.-F.). Travels through Syria and Egypt in the Years 1783, 

1784 and 1785. Transl. from French. 2nd edn. London, 1787. 
Von Luschan (F.). The Early Inhabitants of Western Asia. Journ. Roy. 

Anthr. Inst. vol. xli, 191 i. 
Von Muller. " Extract from notes during Travels in Africa in 1847-8-9." 

Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc. vol. xx, 185 1. 
Vopiscus. (Ap. Historiae Augustae Scriptores, ed. 1620, quoted by 

Quatremere and Letronne.) 
Waddington (G.) and Hanbury (B.). Journal of a Visit to some Parts of 

Ethiopia. London, 1822. 
Wallin (G. A.). " Notes taken during a journey through part of Northern 

Arabia in 1848." Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc. vol. xx, 1851. 
Wellsted (Lieut. J. R.). Travels in Arabia. 2 vols. London, 1838. 
Werne (F.). African Wanderings. Transl. from German by J. R. Johnston 

(The Traveller's Library, vol. 10). London, 1852. 
Westermann (Diedrich). The Shilluk People. Their language and folk- 
lore. Philadelphia Pa., 1912. 
Wilkinson (Sir J. G.). (a) Modern Egypt and Thebes. 2 vols. London, 
1843. (b) Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians 

London, 1837 and 1878. 3 vols. 
Wilson (Sir C. W.). "On the Tribes of the Nile Valley north of Khar- 
toum." Journ. Anthr. Inst., Aug. 1887. 
Wilson (Sir R. K.). A Digest of Anglo-Mohammedan Law. London, 

Wilson (C. T.) and Felkin (R. W.). Uganda and the Egyptian Sudan. 

2 vols. London, 1882. 
Winckler. (Chapter by, in The World's History. See Helmolt.) 
Wingate (Sir F. R.). (a) Mahdiism and the Egyptian Sudan. London, 
1891. (b) Ten Years' Captivity in the Mahdi's Camp... (from the 
original MSS of Father Joseph Ohrwalder). 15th edn. London. 
Woolley (C. L.) and MTver (D. R.). (a) Karanog: the Romano-Nubian 
Cemetery. 2 vols. Univ. Museum, Philadelphia, 1910. (b) Woolley 
(C. L.). Karanog: The Town. Ibid. 191 1. 
Wright (W.). Arabic Grammar. 


Wustenfeld (Dr F.). Register zu den genealogischen Tabellen der 
Arabischen Stamme und Familien.... Gottingen, 1853. 

Yakut (11 78-1 228 a. d.). (a) Irshad el Arib... (Dictionary of Learned 
Men...). Ed. Margoliouth, 1907. (b) Mushtarik... (Geographical 
Dictionary...). Ed. Wustenfeld. Gottingen, 1845-6. 

Zaydan (G.). Kitab Tarikh Masr el Hadith min el Fatah el Islami ila 
'1 an (History of Modern Egypt from the Islamic Conquest to the 
Present Day). Cairo, 1911. Arabic text. 

Zeltner. (See lourn. Roy. Anthr. Inst. vol. xliv, 1914.) 

Zavemer (Rev. S. M.). Arabia: the Cradle of Islam.... Edinburgh and 
London, 1900. 3rd edn. 



M.S. I. 



The Pre-Islamic Arabian Element 

I With the country which roughly speaking lies south of the 
twelfth parallel of latitude we are not here concerned as to all but 
a limited extent it falls outside the sphere of the Arab. Tribes of 
Arabs, it is true, pasture their herds at certain seasons south of this 
line, and in some cases cultivate: the Bakkara tribes of southern 
Kordofan and Darfur and the Seli'm Bakkara on the White Nile 
are the most notable examples of this : but allowing a few exceptions 
due to the suitability of the sub-tropical zone for cattle-breeding it 
is fairly accurate to say that the country south of the twelfth parallel 
is not yet arabicized in the sense that is true of the drier zones of 
country further north, where the Arab, or soi-disant Arab, is in 
undisputed possession. 

It is proposed in these first chapters to give some general idea of 
the ethnic characteristics of the people who inhabited this northern 
portion of the Sudan 1 before the period of Muhammadan immigration. 

II Now, it is well to realize in advance, the fact that the Muham- 
madan settlement in the Sudan caused a profound modification of 
the pre-existing native stock is apt to obscure the other equally 
important fact that long before the Islamic period Arabian races had 
been crossing over into Egypt and the Sudan. Let us then, as a first 
step in the discussion of our subject, attempt to estimate the extent 
to which non-Muhammadan immigration to the Sudan took place 
from Arabia during this earlier period. 

III It would be a most surprising fact if the connection between 
the two sides of the Red Sea had not been intimate from the earliest 
dawn of history, for their inhabitants were to a large extent cognate 
races 2 and the passage was an easy one. 

The merchant led the way. From the most ancient times trade 
in aromatic gums, ivory and gold flourished between Arabia and the 
ports of Egypt, the Sudan and Abyssinia 3 . Settlements arose on the 
African coast and traders carried their wares at least as far as the 

1 I limit the meaning of the term " Sudan" throughout to the country at present 
so called. This excludes Abyssinia and Eritrea. 

2 Cp. Elliot Smith, Ancient Egyptians, p. 87. 

3 See Periplus, Introduction and p. 60; Crowfoot, Journ. Roy. Geogr. Soc. 
May 1911, pp. 523, 524. 

I — 2 


Nile, Of the Wadi Hamamat route that runs east and west between 
the Red Sea and the Thebaid Professor Elliot Smith says : 

From the records inscribed upon the rocks along this route we know 
that there was some traffic along it in the times of the fifth dynasty : but 
it is such an obvious means of access from the Nile to the sea that we can 
be sure it must have been a trade route even in predynastic times, or at 
any rate a highway where the Arab and the Proto-Egyptian met and inter- 
mingled. The widespread occurrence of marine shells, presumably from 
the shores of the Red Sea, in the predynastic graves of Upper Egypt and 
Nubia is positive evidence of the reality of such intercourse 1 . 

IV Some again have held that the conquering dynastic Egyptians 
who worshipped Horus were in fact Arabians who entered Africa by 
way of Massowa, and in the course of developing this theory Professor 
Navile 2 quotes the saying of Juba, recorded by Pliny, that the 
Egyptians were of Arabian origin, and "as for the neighbours of the 
Nile from Syene to Meroe, they are not Ethiopian nations but Arabs. 
Even the temple of the Sun, not far distant from Memphis, is said 
to have been founded by the Arabs 3 ." Without going so far as this, 
one would allow that in early dynastic days Arabians did enter Egypt 
in large numbers by way of the Eritrean coast and settle there ; and 
in that case far more of them are likely to have settled nearer home 
and south of the Egyptian frontier, in the Sudan. 

V Some such movements are probably reflected in the ever recur- 
rent tradition that the early dynasties of Egypt were of Ethiopian 
origin. It is perhaps too often assumed that "Ethiopian" is neces- 
sarily the equivalent of " negro." Certainly in the second millennium 
B.C. south-west Arabia was beginning to colonize the highlands of 
Abyssinia, and those cross-currents of migration had begun to flow 
which reached their height during the hegemony of Ma'in and Saba 
(c. 1500-300 B.C.) 4 . 

Throughout the whole of this period a large proportion of the 
world's commerce passed by way of Abyssinia and the coast of the 
Red Sea to the Nile 5 , and the populations on either side of the straits 
of Bab el Mandeb became more and more assimilated to one another 6 . 

1 Elliot Smith, loc. cit. p. 88. 

2 Navile, Origin of Egyptian Civilization, Smithsonian Rep. 1907, pp. 549-564. 

3 Pliny, Bk. vi, 34. 

4 See Sir H. Johnston in jfourn. R. A. I. xliii, 1913, p. 385 ; Winckler, in World's 
History, p. 249, etc. 

5 See Schurtz in World's History, p. 433. 

6 Cp. Palgrave, C. and E. Arabia, 11, 240 ff. ; and Ludolphus: the latter says of 
the Ethiopians of Abyssinia, "They are not natives of the land but came out of 
that part of Arabia which is called the Happy, which adjoins to the Red Sea" 
(ap. Bent, p. 175). 


VI Under the Ptolemies trade throve equally, and there is ample 
evidence of Arab trading-stations in the first and second centuries 
a.d. on the coast from Bab el Mandeb to the Gulf of Suez 1 . 

VII As regards early Arabian immigration by land to Egypt, there 
are some who, while rejecting the theory that the early dynasts came 
through Ethiopia, would yet bring them from Arabia into Egypt by 
way of the peninsula of Sinai 2 . This is very doubtful. The positive 
evidence, dating from the time of the earliest dynasties, does, how- 
ever, prove that the eastern side of the Delta was being perpetually 
harried by nomads from Sinai and Syria 3 , and there are numerous 
early reliefs shewing a Pharaoh smiting the Beduin, "the sand- 
dwellers" of the mining regions of Sinai 4 . 

VIII During the twelfth dynasty, nearly 2000 years before the 
Christian era, the monuments prove that there was also trade with 
these Beduin. "The needs of the Semitic tribes of neighbouring 
Asia were already those of civilized people and gave ample occa- 
sion for trade 5 "; and hence the famous picture from the tomb of 
Khnumhotep II at Beni Hasan, in which is depicted the arrival of 
a band of Beduin traders 6 . 

The more amicable conditions now prevailing are also suggested 
by the wording of the Tale of Sinuhe's flight to Palestine during the 
time of the same dynasty : 

I came to the Walls of the Ruler, made to repulse the Beduin... I went 
on... I fell down for thirst... I upheld my heart, I drew my limbs together, 
as I heard the sound of the lowing of cattle, I beheld the Beduin. That 
chief among them, who had been in Egypt, recognized me. He gave me 
water, he cooked for me milk. I went with him to his tribe, good was that 
which they did (for me) 7 . 

IX About 1657 B.C. occurred the Hyksos invasion of Egypt 8 . This 
people may have been Hittite or possibly Arabian by race: the 
evidence points to the former 9 , but we may assume in any case that 
Arabia sent its quota of Beduin in the wake of the invaders 10 and 
that during the Hyksos period and that succeeding it trade between 
east and west flourished to a larger extent than formerly. 

1 See Periplus and Ptolemaeus, passim. 

2 E.g. Lepsius, q.v. ap. Navile, loc. cit. 3 Elliot Smith, loc. cit. pp. 92, 93. 

4 See Breasted, A.R. i, 168, 236, 250, 267, 311-315. The first of these dates 
from the first dynasty, and all fall within the period of the first six dynasties. 

5 Breasted, Hist. p. 159. 

6 Ibid. p. 158, and A. R. 1, 620; Schurtz, loc. cit. p. 619. 

7 Breasted, A. R. 1, 493. 8 Breasted, Hist. pp. 179, 442. 
9 Von Luschan, Journ. R. A. I. xli, 191 1, p. 242. 

10 Breasted (Hist. p. 181) remarks that the Hebrews in Egypt may have been 
" but a part of the Beduin allies of the Kadesh or Hyksos." 


X When the Empire was at the noontide of its glory and the Syrian 
wars of Thutmose III (1479-1447 B.C.) had broken down such 
barriers as remained, "all the world traded in the Delta markets 1 ," 
and an inscription from the tomb of Harmhab (1350-13 15) is par- 
ticularly interesting as proving that Arab settlement in Egypt had 
been taking place for some time: it records how fugitives from 
Palestine begged the Pharaoh to give them an asylum in Egypt 
"after the manner of your fathers' fathers since the beginning 2 ." 
By now, too, the Shasu or Khabiri, the desert Semites, including 
Arabs, Hebrews and Aramaeans, were inundating Syria and Palestine, 
until, in the reign of Ikhnaton (1375-1358) they became paramount 
on the eastern borders of Egypt 3 . 

Their power received a check at the hands of Seti I (c. 1313- 
1292), and they were also no doubt affected by the repulses inflicted 
by Rameses II (1292-1225) on the Hittites. 

By the time of Rameses 's death there were numbers of Arabians 
captured in war and enrolled as serfs in Egypt, or employed as 
mercenaries 4 . 

XI The power of Egypt then began to decline, and during the 
nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first dynasties the Libyans so over- 
ran Egypt that by 950 B.C. they had gained the supreme power 5 . 
The presumption is that some of the eastern nomads, who were 
divided by no great racial gulf from the Libyans, took the oppor- 
tunity at the same time to settle with them in the Delta and inter- 
marry with them as they had probably already intermarried with the 
native Egyptians. 

XII In the Nubian period which followed, Assyria rose to the 
height of her power and subdued Egypt. Psammetichus I (663-609) 
was practically a vassal of that power in the early years of his reign ; 
but later, as Babylon supplanted Assyria, he asserted his indepen- 
dence and entered into widely ramifying foreign relations with the 
powers to the north and east; and his successors imitated his example. 

XIII Sixty years after the death of Psammetichus I Cyrus founded 
the Medo-Persian empire, and in 525 B.C. Cambyses, King of Persia, 
occupied Egypt. 

XIV The Arabs may have strengthened their footing in Egypt 
during the Assyrian and Babylonian periods. Herodotus 6 indeed 
speaks of Sennacherib as "King of the Arabians and Assyrians" 

1 Breasted, Hist. pp. 244, 253. 2 Breasted, A. R. in, 10, 11. 

3 Breasted, Hist. pp. 263, 284, 285. * Ibid. pp. 254, 317, 318. 

6 Ibid. pp. 298, 327, 328, 333 ff.; and cp. A. R. in, 570; iv, 35, 83, 84. 
6 Bk. 11, 141. 


and his army as "the Arabian host." So, too, the Persian period 
lasted for about 200 years and presumably the settlements of Asiatics 
that now occurred included a proportion of Arabs. The presumption 
is made more certain by the fact that when Alexander the Great 
conquered Egypt in 332 B.C. he appointed Cleomenes of Naukratis 
to be governor of "Arabia about Heroopolis" with the title of 
"Arabarch," and so important was this official's position that he 
was also responsible to Alexander for the whole tribute of Egypt 1 . 

XV In the reign of the first Ptolemy we hear of the Arabs providing 
great convoys of camels for the abortive invasion by Antigonus 2 , and 
no doubt they transported and raided both sides alternately through- 
out all the wars of the successive Ptolemies on the Syrian frontier; 
but to what extent they made any permanent settlement in Egypt 
during this period it is impossible to say. 

XVI Meanwhile let us not forget the more continuous intercourse 
that was proceeding further south. Not only were trade relations 
maintained, but the Kahtanites or Himyarites of southern Arabia 
were forming a definite link between the Arabs and the negro popu- 
lation of Abyssinia 3 , and periodically invaded the Nile valley. We 
need not pay much attention to the tale of Sheddad, a Himyarite 
king of the 'Adites, who invaded Egypt in the days of Ashmun the 
great-grandson of Ham son of Noah, and built pyramids and reser- 
voirs before he was compelled to retreat 4 , but the tradition that one 
of the early kings of Yemen, 'Abd Shams Saba, the founder of Marib, 
invaded Egypt 5 probably refers to an actual incursion from the 
south-east during the Nubian period. 

XVII More important matters were the expeditions of Abraha 
"Dhu el Manar 6 " and Afrikus. 

The former was born, according to Caussin de Perceval, about 
134 B.C., and was king of Yemen, and brother or son of el Sa'ab 
"Dhu el Karnayn" ("The two-horned") 7 . He is said to have made 

1 Mahaffy, History of Egypt, pp. 20, 21. 2 Mahaffy, loc. cit. 49. 

3 Cp. Palgrave, Arabia, I, 453, 454. 4 Makrfzi, Khetdt, II, 523. 

5 See, e.g. Abu el Fida, pp. 114, 115, quoting Ibn Sa'id; Van Dyck, p. 15 ; and 
Caussin de Perceval, 1, 52. 

6 " He of the Signposts." For his expedition see Abu el Fida, p. 117; Van Dyck, 
p. 16; and Caussin de Perceval, 1, 67 (citing el Nuwayry, Hist. Imp. Vet. Yoct. 

P- 52). 

7 Caussin de Perceval (1, 65) calls el Sa'ab "Essab." He was called "The two 
horned because he wore two plaits of hair hanging down over his temples" (Van 
Dyck, p. 16), or else because "he wore a crown with points like horns" (C. de 
Perceval, loc. cit.). By reason of the nickname he was sometimes confused with 
Alexander the Great "Dhu el Karnayn." It is possible there is a connection here 
with the "two horns" worn by the Mek of Bujaras (q.v. Part III, Chap. 2, xxxm) 
and the two-horned "takia" worn by the Fung (see Part III, sub " 'Abdulldb"). 
" On ne sait pas precisement pourquoi Alexandre recut le surnom de ' Zou-1- 


an incursion into the Sudan and advanced as far as the Moghrab. 
This story evidently points to a Himyaritic expedition into the Sudan 
by way of Abyssinia. Abraha's son Afrikus, or Ibn Afriki, invaded 
northern Africa probably about 46 B.C. 1 

XVIII There are grounds for supposing that these invasions were 
followed by two distinct Himyaritic settlements in the interior of 

In the first place, numbers of them are said to have settled west 
of Egypt among the Libyan tribes and multiplied with these under 
the common name of Berbers : such is the origin assigned with very 
reasonable probability to the Sanhaga and Ketama sections of the 
Berber 2 . In this connection it may be noted that at the battle of 
Actium Arabs of the Yemen fought for Antony on the galleys of 
Cleopatra 3 . 

Secondly, it seems certain that colonies of Himyarites settled in 
Nubia, though it is hard to say whether the traces of Himyaritic 

carnayn' ('a deux cornes'). Les uns pretendent que c'est parce qu'il avait deux 
eminences sur la tete, d'autres parce qu'il avait deux cornettes a sa couronne, 
d'autres parce qu'il avait deux longues tresses de cheveux pendantes, d'autres 
parce qu'il subjugua 1'univers, de l'Orient r£el a l'Occident r£el, etc La de- 
nomination d' 'Alexandre aux deux cornes' est 1'analogue de celle de Jupiter 
Ammon." (Perron, ap. el Tunisi, Voy. au Ddrfour, pp. 456, 458.) 

1 Caussin de Perceval (1, 70) points out that Caesar in 46 B.C. was opposed in 
Africa by the Numidians of Juba, i.e. by the Libyo-Berber tribes, and that these 
latter were compelled to retreat before meeting Caesar because of an invasion of 
Juba's state at the instigation of Caesar by a certain Sittius at the head of an army 
of adventurers. Sittius may be Afrikus, and the name Afrikus may have been 
merely conferred in honour of the expedition. Ibn Khaldun (1, 27) calls him "ibn 
Sa'ifi." Concerning the expedition itself see Ibn Khaldun, 1, 168-176 (citing Ibn el 
Kelbi);Pococke, Spec. Hist. Ar. p. 60; Abu el Fida,pp. 116, 117; Caussin de Perceval, 
I, 69 (citing the above and el Nuwayry's Hist. Imp. Vet. Yoct. p. 52); Carette, 
Explor. Scient. de VAlgerie, in, 306; and Leo Africanus (Hakluyt ed.), 1, 122. 

2 See Ibn Khaldun, 1, 27 and 184, and 11, 178; and cp. el Mas'udi, in, 240. 
Ibn el Rakfk (q.v. ap. Carette, loc. cit. p. 49) says that the first people to inhabit 
Barbary were five colonies of Sabaeans under Ibn Afriki, king of Yemen, and that 
they gave birth to 600 tribes of Berbers. These five colonies were taken to be the 
Sanhaga, Masmuda, Zenata, Ghomara, and Howara. Ibn Khaldun only allows the 

Himyaritic origin of the Sanhaga and the Ketama. He says ^c ^A s^L^\ 

V >fff!P' *e*dj-9< !>cUJ cA*0-5l jjlj A*^J| (ed. ar., vi, 97, Bk in). He puts 
down the rest as related to the Philistines and descended from Canaan. 

Cp. also Ibn Batuta, n, 196. This traveller visited Zhafar, a month's journey 
by land from Aden, and records the striking resemblance between the food, the 
habits and the women's proper names among the people there and among those 
in the Moghrab. He says 

("This resemblance bears out the statement that Sanhaga and other tribes of the 
Moghrab are of Himyaritic origin.") 

3 Caussin de Perceval, loc. cit. p. 70, quoting Virgil, Aeneid, vm, 706. 


influence which occur there, and which will be noticed later 1 , date 
in the main from this or a later period. 

At this period sun-worship was flourishing both in Southern 
Arabia and among the Himyaritic colonists of northern Abyssinia 2 
and the worship of the same deity that survived at Talmis (Kalabsha) 
until the time of Justinian 3 may well have formed a bond of sympathy 
between Himyarite and Nubian through the medium of Abyssinia 
and so have facilitated and encouraged intercourse between the two. 
Pliny, as we have already seen, even quotes Juba to the effect that 
the Nile dwellers from Aswan to Meroe were not Ethiopians but 
Arabians 4 — a statement which though obviously exaggerated may be 
taken as containing at least some grain of truth. There is, too, a 
tradition 5 that Abu Malik, one of the last of the true Himyarite 
dynasty, made an expedition into the Bega country in quest of 
emeralds and there perished with most of his army. The event on 
which this tale is founded probably occurred during the early decades 
of the Christian period 6 . 

XIX In 25 B.C. Augustus, under the impression that the merchan- 
dize brought to the Red Sea ports by the Arabs was produced by 
Arabia, commissioned Aelius Gallus, the Prefect of Egypt, to conquer 
that country 7 . 

This expedition was a failure ; but about thirty years later, having 
learned that the most valuable merchandize brought by the Arabs 
came originally from India, and desiring a monopoly for ships from 
Egyptian ports, the Romans imposed a 25 per cent, import duty on 
goods from Arabian ports and destroyed Adane, the chief trading 
centre of them all 8 . For about two centuries Roman shipping was 
developed at the expense of the Arab 9 , but the old freedom of inter- 
course between the two coasts does not seem to have been checked 
thereby, and by the time of Diocletian (284-305 a.d.) the Axumites 
of Abyssinia and the Himyarites of the Yemen had entirely regained 
the trade ascendancy 10 . 

XX These two peoples, closely connected by race, were now united 
by the bond of a common religion. Axum had been finally converted 

1 See Index, sub " Himyar." 

2 Cp. Van Dyck, pp. 18 and 38; and see Part II, Chap. 2, xxvi. 

3 Letronne, Materiaux 

4 " Quin et accolas Nili a Syene non Aethiopum populos sed Arabum esse dicit 
usque Meroen." Pliny, Bk vi, para. 34. 

5 Caussin de Perceval, 1, 82; Van Dyck, p. 18. 

6 Caussin de Perceval puts the date of Abu Malik's birth in 31 A.D. 

7 Milne, pp. 19, 20. 8 Ibid. p. 34. 

9 Cp. Muir, Life of Mahomet, pp. Ixxix, Ixxx. He attributes to this cause the 
northward migration of the Kuda'a and Beni Azd. 
10 Milne, p. 94. 


to Christianity by Frumentius about 330 A.D., and the faith spread 
very rapidly throughout Abyssinia 1 . The Yemen had been converted 
half a century earlier and remained nominally Christian until about 
500 a.d. when the king, Dhu Nawas, a descendant of Abraha, adopted 
Judaism 2 . 

XXI Both Anastasius (491-518) and Justinus I (518-527) sent 
embassies to the Himyarites seeking their aid to check the increasing 
inroads of the Persians by an attack in the rear 3 ; but their plans were 
nullified by the trouble that had arisen between the Himyarites and 
the Axumites as a result of the persecution of Christians by Dhu 
Nawas. Elesbaan, king of Axum, invaded the Yemen and subdued 
it about 522 a.d. 4 , and until about the end of the century it remained 
subject to Abyssinia, though the actual administration remained in 
the hands of the Himyarites. 

XXII The last of the Himyarite viceroys was Sayf, the son of 
Dhu Yazan and grandson of the Dhu Nawas mentioned above. This 
man, with the aid of the Persians, succeeded in driving most of the 
Abyssinians out of el Yemen and enslaving the rest. Some of these 
latter, however, murdered him about 608 a.d. and he was buried at 
Sana'a. The Persians then occupied the country until it was con- 
quered from them by the Muhammadans in 634 5 . 

Now, curiously enough, this Sayf ibn Dhu Yazan is fabled to 
have founded the kingdom of Kanem 6 . That he did not do so is 
quite certain, great traveller though he is related to have been in 
Arab tradition 7 . But during the tumultuous years which ushered in 
the seventh century in Arabia and immediately preceded Islam, there 
may have been, and probably was, some emigration from the Yemen 
to Africa, and it is not outside the bounds of possibility that some 
of these Himyarites penetrated to the far west, called themselves 
members of the royal family of el Yemen and were accepted as such 
by the ignorant natives 8 . 

1 Letronne, loc. cit. 

2 Van Dyck, pp. 20, 21. The legend that a Himyarite founded a dynasty in 
Bornu at the end of the sixth century (Nachtigal ap. Schurtz, loc. cit. pp. 534, 582) 
is curious but unsupported by evidence. 

3 Milne, pp. 103, 104. 4 Procopius, De Bell. Pers. I, 19 (ap. Bent, p. 178). 

5 Van Dyck, pp. 21-24, and Abu el Fida, pp. 118, 119. 

6 He appears under the names " Sayf ibn Dhu Yazan," " Muhammad Sayf 
Ullah," or "Sayf ibn Hasan." See Carbou, 1, 4-7, Barth, II, 261, 262, 268, 269, 
633, and Nachtigal. 

7 Abu el Fida, loc. cit. 

8 Cp. Carbou, loc. cit. and Barth, II, 269. I suppose Sultan Bello to refer to 
this movement when he speaks of certain Berber slaves and conscripts in el Yemen 
as rebelling against the Himyarites and being forced in consequence to emigrate to 
the African coast. "They then went to Kanoom, and settled there, as strangers, 
under the government of the Tawarek, who were a tribe related to them, and called 


XXIII But to revert: the Persian armies were active in the sixth 
century a.d. in the north as well as in el Yemen, and their pressure 
on Egypt steadily increased until in 616 a.d. that country and Asia 
Minor had been wrested out of the hands of the Romans. 

The Persians themselves, as a race, had affinities with the Arme- 
noid invaders of an earlier date 1 , but among their number were 
members of many Syrian and Arab tribes 2 , and with these latter 
their congeners already settled in Egypt were no doubt in active 
sympathy 3 . 

XXIV The rule of Persia in Egypt only lasted for ten years. They 
had lost the support of the Arabs as a result of the Islamic move- 
ment, and by 626 Heraclius had driven them out. 

But by now both Roman and Persian were enfeebled by con- 
tinuous warfare and the Arabs began to swarm over the frontiers of 
Egypt. For a while they were bought off by subsidies, but in 639 
'Amr ibn el 'Asi led his forces into the country, defeated the prefect 
Theodorus at Heliopolis, and drove the Romans back into the Delta. 

By 641 Babylon had fallen and Alexandria was besieged. 

Terms were then agreed upon, and in September 642, Alexandria 
was surrendered and Egypt passed under the domination of the Arabs. 

Their immediate success cannot be credited wholly to religious 
fervour. A proportion were no doubt inspired by the new faith, but 
many were with equal certainty animated by purely material con- 
siderations; and their task was the easier in that they were freeing 
from a foreign yoke a country in which numbers of the population 
already consisted of their own kith and kin. 

XXV We have thus seen that in pre-Islamic times there was a 
direct current of Arab immigration into Egypt, and most probably 
into Libya, through southern Syria, and a similar influx into the 
Sudan through Abyssinia, and a channel of trade from the mid- 
Red Sea coast to the Thebaid. It may therefore be regarded as more 
than probable that the ever-increasing infiltration of Arabs from these 
three directions, and their converging movements up and down the 
common highway of the Nile, whether in search of trade or pasture, 
had by the beginning of the seventh century led to the implanting 
at various points of a definite, if racially indeterminate, Arab strain 
in the population of the northern Sudan. 

Amakeetan. But they soon rebelled against them, and usurped the country — 
Their government nourished for some time and their dominion extended to the 
very extremity of this tract of the earth ; and Wadai and Bagharmee, as well as the 
country of Houssa...were in their possession." (See Denham, Clapperton, and 
Oudney, II, 446, 447.) 1 Von Luschan, p. 244. 

2 Butler, Arab Conquest, p. 81 note. 3 Milne, p. 114. 



The Nubians, the Nuba and the Libyan Element 

I The way has now been cleared for the discussion of the non- 
Arab races which the Islamic Arabs found in the Sudan. 

II All of these, with the exception of the nomad Bega in the 
eastern desert, were commonly included by the invaders under the 
vague denomination of Nuba. This term first occurs in literature in 
the geography of Eratosthenes 1 , who was born in 276 B.C. He speaks 
of "the Novfiat." Later the name occurs as Nou/3«Se?, or in the 
Latinized form of Nobatae. 

The ultimate derivation of the word is not known, but it appears 
to be of very ancient origin and may be connected through the Coptic 
NOTBT (meaning "to plait") with "nebed," the word used in the 
inscription of Thothmes I (date c. 1540 B.C.) to denote "the plaited- 
haired ones," or as it is perhaps with less accuracy translated "the 
curly-haired ones" whom that monarch overthrew in the neighbour- 
hood of the third cataract: "He hath overthrown the chief of the 

•"Nubians 1 ; the Negro [nehesi] is helpless There is not a remnant 

among the curly-haired, who came to attack him 2 ." 

I imagine that the Arabs simply adopted the word which they 
found commonly used in Egypt to denote collectively the races living 
south of the first cataract 3 . With ethnological differentiation they 

1 Ap. Strabo, Bk. xvn, ed. Casaubon, p. 786. 

2 Breasted, A. R. 11, 71, and S el igman, Journ. Anthr. Inst, xliii, 1913, pp. 616, 
618. The latter says, "With regard to the word in the inscription of Thothmes I 
rendered 'the curly-haired,' i.e. as a synonym of 'Negro' {nehesi), written earlier 
in the inscription... it is necessary to exercise a certain amount of caution, for 
Miss Murray points out that this word reads Nebed, and is determined by a lock 
of hair, i.e. 'the curly-haired' stands for 'the nebed-haived.' But 'nebed,' according 
to Brugsch, does not mean ' curly,' but is the equivalent of the French tresser, 
natter, entrelacer, and is akin to the Coptic NOTBT =plectere, intexere." Seligman 
does not, however, allude to the possibility of any connection between NOTBT and 
"Nuba." The word "Nuba" is sometimes derived from " nubu," the word used 
for " gold" in, e.g., the inscription of Amenemhet (Ameni) in the time of the twelfth 
dynasty (see Breasted, A. R. 1, 520). Gold and slaves have been the chief attraction 
of the Sudan in all ages. (Cp. Budge, I, 534, 541.) 

3 Elliot Smith says: "We are not justified in calling both the early and the late 
inhabitants of Nubia ' Nubians ' ; in fact, it is very doubtful whether we ought to 
apply the name to the pre-Hellenic population of the Nile valley between Aswan 
and Meroe" {Arch. Surv. Nub. Bull. II, Cairo, 1908). R. Lepsius speaks of the 
probably incorrect extension of the name "Nuba" to all lands out of which slaves 
were brought to the north (Nubische Grammatik). 

I. 2. IV. 13 

were little concerned, and until late years that subject remained 
sufficiently obscure. 

The Present Inhabitants of Nubia 

III At the present day the inhabitants of Nubia, which may be 
taken as extending along the Nile banks from Aswan as far south 
approximately as the eighteenth parallel, to the vicinity, that is, of 
Debba and Korti 1 , are commonly known to the north as Barabra 
("Berberines") and to the south as Danagla, i.e. inhabitants of 
Dongola 2 . 

The term "Barabra" is used to include the Kanuz between 
Aswan and Korosko, a people whom we shall see to be an element 
distinct, the "Nuba" round Haifa, the Sukkot, the Mahass proper, 
and frequently the Danagla. The Danagla extend as far north only 
as the vicinity of Arko Island and do not admit that they are Barabra. 
Physically and linguistically the Sukkot and Mahass fall into a single 
group and are distinct from the Kanuz and Danagla. The two latter, 
however, bear obvious resemblances to one another and their lan- 
guages are similar. This curious fact is due without doubt to the 
geographical peculiarities of the Nile valley between Korosko and 
Dongola, the effect of which is to leave the Mahass and Sukkot 
more or less isolated 3 . 

IV All these people are Muhammadans and have Arab blood in 
their veins, but racial characteristics derived from non-Arab ancestors 
have survived very persistently, and more noticeably so among the 
Mahass and Sukkot. The Kanuz and Danagla approximate very 
much more to the Arab type. 

At the same time, the importation of slave women from the 
south, which has proceeded uninterruptedly for centuries, has lent 
a further measure of spurious homogeneity to all of these Nubian 
peoples 4 . 

1 The southern limit of " Kush" under the Pharaohs of the eighteenth dynasty 
was practically the same, viz. Napata (Breasted, A. R. 11, 1020). 

2 "Danagla," or more correctly "Danakla" is the plural of "Dongolawi" or 
"Donkolawi." There is probably a connection between "Danakla" and the 
" Danakil" of the northern Somali coast (see Johnston, The Nile Quest, pp. 34-42). 

3 Cp. Beckett, Cairo Sc. Journ. Aug. 191 1; Burckhardt, Nubia, pp. 25, 26; 
and Anglo-Eg. Sudan, i, 83, where the term Barabra is used to include the Danagla. 
Burckhardt {loc. cit.) says: "The inhabitants of Nouba, and Wady Kenous, as far 
as Dongola, are known in Egypt under the name of Berabera (sing. Berbery); but 
that appellation is seldom made use of by the inhabitants themselves, when speaking 
of their own nation." As usual, he is accurate. By "Mahass proper" are meant 
the Mahass of Mahass district as distinct from the Mahass settled, e.g. on the 
Blue Nile. 

4 Cp. Schweinfurth, 11, 194. 


V As regards the Barabra as a whole one thing is quite certain: 
there are no grounds for closely connecting them as a race with the 
Nuba of southern Kordofan as Riippell, Rossi and Keane did 1 . They 
are very similar in type to the Middle Nubians who lived between 
3000 and 4000 years ago in the same locality, but these had no more 
racial affinity with the southern Nuba than the Barabra-Danagla 
have, and the latter are almost the complete antithesis of the southern 
Nuba both physically and culturally 2 . 

It may be the case, and probably is, that the southern Nuba are 
to some extent the modern representatives of the race of negroes 
who temporarily held Dongola and the cataract country south of 
Haifa in the days of the Middle Kingdom and early Empire and 
whose congeners, no doubt at a later date, formed part of the forces 
of the Ethiopian dynasty that conquered Egypt and ruled it for 
something less than a century, but these negroes were aliens in the 
northern Sudan and most of them were forced back to the south, 
and their place in Lower Nubia was taken by its original inhabitants 
and settlers from Egypt. 

In the Dodekaschoinos 3 it is probable that the negroes had hardly 
displaced the original inhabitants, but south of Haifa they must have 
done so temporarily and to some extent modified the racial type in 
the process. But, even so, allowing for periods of interruption, it is 
true to say that from the time of the Middle Empire (2000-1600 B.C.) 
and onwards for centuries, and throughout the Meroitic, Ptolemaic 
and classical periods, and again in the years preceding the decisive 
Arab conquest of the Sudan, a strong infiltration of the Egyptian 
and, later, of the Egypto-Arab type was steadily and almost un- 
interruptedly proceeding in the northern Sudan and the negro 
element was correspondingly decreasing in that region. 

VI It will be seen too that this prolonged infiltration to the south 
was more than the return of an ancient population, reinforced by 
fresh blood, to its quondam home on the river. When once the Arabs 
had overthrown the Christian kingdom of Dongola and established 
themselves in its place, they rapidly amalgamated with the local 
Nubians and began to send colonies further afield. 

Thus it came about that Barabra, with an Arab leaven, pene- 
trated into Kordofan and settled round about the most northernly 
of the Nuba mountains and intermarried with the negroes who were 

1 See Seligman, Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1913, xliii, 610, and Beckett, loc. cit. 
pp. 200 ff. For Keane, see Man: Past and Present, p. 75. 

2 Seligman, loc. cit. 

3 See Part II, Chap. 2, xxxix. 


probably descendants of the erstwhile conquerors of Nubia 1 . The 
immigrating race, in addition, imposed its own language upon the 
blacks in their vicinity, and thus are explainable the linguistic 
affinities which have troubled so many generations of investigators. 
The Barabra, in short, do not speak a language akin to that of the 
northern Nuba of southern Kordofan because the negroes conquered 
Nubia, — the negroes probably spoke some language or languages of 
their own that may still survive in the mountain fastnesses of the 
far south, — but because the Barabra colonized the country round 
the foot of the northern hills of Dar Nuba. The conclusion, however, 
has here anticipated the argument and we must revert. 

The Earliest Inhabitants of Nubia 

VII As regards the earliest period it has been proved that those 
shadowy inhabitants of northern Nubia, who are known to archae- 
ologists as "Group A," were contemporaries of the pre-dynastic 
Egyptians, that both buried their dead in the same way and that in 
cultural matters there were marked similarities. The two peoples 
must have been practically uniform 2 , and their stock may have 
extended in a more or less diluted form from Egypt to the Blue 
Nile and Abyssinia 3 . They were a "small, dark-haired, black-eyed, 
glabrous people" bearing a close resemblance to the Libyans of the 
southern Mediterranean seaboard, and were, in the earliest period 
of all, devoid of all negro characteristics 4 . 

The First Arrival of the Negroes 

VIII Later, about the time of the third dynasty, negro types began 
to settle in Nubia as far north as Aswan, and from now onwards 
"the population that grew up was a mixture of early Nubian and 
dynastic Egyptian with an ever increasing Negro element 5 ." 

(a) The Bahr el Ghazdl Type 

These negroes were for the most part "short and relatively broad- 
headed," of a type akin to that found at the present day in the south 

1 Further evidence on this subject will be found in Part III, Chap, i, where 
details of the Bedayria and other Danagla tribes are given. 

2 Elliot Smith, Ancient Egyptians, p. 66, and in Arch. Surv. Nubia, Report for 
1907-8, 11, Chap. II; Reisner, Sudan Notes and Records, Jan. 1918, p. 7. 

3 Elliot Smith, Ancient Egyptians , pp. 78, 79. Of this stock he also says (p. 54): 
'There is a considerable mass of evidence to shew that there was a very close 

resemblance between the proto-Egyptians and the Arabs before either became 
intermingled with Armenoid racial elements." 

4 Elliot Smith, Cairo Scient. Journ. March 1909, pp. 56, 57. 
6 Seligman, loc. cit. p. 614. 

16 THE NUBIANS, THE NUBA I. 2. viil 

of the Bahr el Ghazal province, and entirely distinct from the in- 
vaders of the Empire period. 

(b) The Nilotic Type 

The tall Nilotes, Shilluk, Dinka and Nuer of the White Nile 
valley, who now intervene between the Bahr el Ghazal and Nubia, 
and are dissimilar to either group and display certain Bantu affinities, 
could not at the time of the earlier (Bahr el Ghazal) invasion have 
yet occupied their present position 1 . It is likely that they arrived 
there during the second millennium B.C., or later. 

The "C Group" in Lower Nubia 

IX By the time of the twelfth dynasty the fusion of races in Lower 
Nubia had resulted in the production of the singularly homogeneous 
blend of traits which distinguish the people of the Middle Empire, 
that is, dynasties twelve to seventeen, or "C Group"; the very type 
which in a modified form is represented in the same locality by the 
Barabra of the present day. 

By the same date the population further south must have become 
almost exclusively negro (nehes). 

Early Libyan Influences in Nubia 

X Concurrently with the early negro infusion into Nubia further 
racial modification was probably being caused by the settlement on 
the Nile of Libyans (Temehu) from the western oases and the steppes 
of northern Kordofan. 

In the time of the sixth dynasty, about 2750 B.C., Harkhuf, the 
Governor of the district round Aswan, went to Yam, i.e. Lower 
Nubia on the west side 2 , and, he says, "I found the chief of Yam 
going to the land of Temeh to smite Temeh as far as the western 
corner of heaven. I went forth after him to the land of Temeh and 
I pacified him... 3 ." Harkhuf then went southwards through Upper 
Nubia, crossed over to the east bank, and returned downstream to 
Egypt bringing with him incense, ebony, oil, grain, panther-skins, 
ivory and throwing-sticks 4 . The advocates of the Libyan theory find 
here evidence that the Libyans (Temehu) lived between the first and 
second cataracts, but as Giuffrida-Ruggeri remarks 5 , "there is still 
the possibility suggested by Hrdlicka 6 that these Temehu lived... on 
the oases of Kharga and Dakhla, which are in the Libyan desert...." 

1 Seligman, loc. cit. p. 624. 2 Seligman, loc. cit. p. 613 note. 

3 Breasted, A. R. 1, 335. 4 Ibid. p. 336, and Seligman, loc. cit. 

5 Loc. cit. p. 54. 

6 The Natives of Kharga Oasis, Egypt, Smithsonian Misc. Collections, lix, 
No. 1, p. 5, Washington, 1912. 


Budge 1 thinks from the list of products brought back by Harkhuf 
that he probably penetrated Kordofan and Darfur via the oases of 
Kurkur and Selima ; and Professor Navile 2 accepts the inscription of 
Harkhuf as proof that the Libyo-Berbers were occupying Kordofan 
and Darfur and possibly Borku. The negroes, he thinks, must have 
ousted them at a later date. 

Reisner thinks Harkhuf followed the river and doubts if he pene- 
trated as far as Sennar. The products brought back, he points out, 
might have been obtained in trade anywhere between Dongola and 
Sennar, whatever their ultimate origin 3 . However, as large and 
wealthy Arab tribes have chosen to live in the Bayuda desert for 
centuries it is also likely in any case that races of similar habits and 
inclinations occupied it before them. That the earliest of such to do 
so were of Libyan origin appears to be sufficiently established, but 
the extent, if any, to which these races settled on the Nile and mixed 
with the Nubian population of the Middle Nubian period is still 
undetermined 4 . 

XI The Middle Nubian stock was also mixed, it is probable, with 
another strain, that of the red-skinned Bega from the eastern deserts 5 . 
But in the main, from Assuan for some distance south of Haifa, it 
was negroid, though certainly not true negro 6 . 

Nubia in the Time of the Twelfth Dynasty 

XII During the time of the great kings of the twelfth dynasty 
(2000-1788 B.C.) events of great importance occurred in the northern 
Sudan 7 . At least three serious military campaigns were carried out, 
by Amenemhat I (1971), by Sesostris I (1962) and by Sesostris III 
(1879). In connection with these a series of forts and garrisons was 
established from the Egyptian frontier as far as the lower end of the 
present Dongola Province, and at several of these, notably at Semna 
and Kerma (Inebuw- Amenemhat), regular colonies of Egyptians were 
founded. During this period the district between Aswan and Semna 
became populous and prosperous. 

Every lateral valley had its village or group of huts. Every square 
meter of alluvial soil appears to have been cultivated. The people were 

1 1, 512. 2 Smithsonian Rep. 1907, pp. 549-64. 

3 See Sudan Notes and Records, Jan. 1918, p. 12. 

4 Bates (The Eastern Libyatis) would go so far as to class the Middle Nubians 
as a race with the Libyans rather than with the Negroes. Giuffrida-Ruggeri combats 
this theory in Man, April 191 5. The question of Berber influences in the western 
desert at a later date occurs again later in this chapter. 

5 Seligman, loc. cit. p. 619. A discussion of the ethnic place of the Bega follows 
in Chap. 3. 

6 Reisner, loc. cit. pp. 12, 13. 

' For the following see Reisner in Sudan Notes and Records, April 1918. 

M.S. 1. 2 


Nubians, perhaps descended in part from the harried population of the 
Old Empire, but increased by immigrants from the more exposed districts 
south of Semna. Culturally they were still in an uncivilized state, nearly 
neolithic. They were sowers and herdsmen, hunters and fishermen. The 
only crafts were pot-making, cloth and mat-weaving, and basket-making, 
— all carried out by hand with the simplest of tools. 

South of Semna, of course, conditions were far less settled and 
periodical punitive expeditions were necessary. 

The expedition of Sesostris I appears, however, to have resulted 
in the "thorough subjugation of the country, certainly as far as the 
upstream end of Dongola Province, and perhaps well into Berber 
Province." The year 1962 marks the first real conquest of the north- 
central Sudan. The fort at Kerma was enlarged and the settlement 
increased, and the result has been shewn by Reisner's recent excava- 
tions. These prove that a "special local civilization, a curious modi- 
fication of the culture of Egypt, deeply affected by local forms, 
materials and customs," was developed and throve. About 1879, 
however, Amenemhat's fort was sacked as the result of a rising or 
invasion from the south. Sesostris III at once led an army into the 
Sudan and crushed the rebels and set up the famous stela at Semna, 
37 miles south of Haifa, inscribed with the order forbidding the 
"negroes" to pass downstream beyond it for ever 1 . From his time 
until the New Empire no mention of Nubia is found in the Egyptian 
inscriptions, but its occupation certainly continued and one infers 
that local conditions were more or less settled. 

Kerma had been restored and made the administrative centre of 
a province, but it seems that about 1600 B.C. it was burnt out and 
never rebuilt. 

Nubia in the Time of the Eighteenth Dynasty. 
Its Egyptianization 

XIII The Egyptianization of the northern Sudan was proceeding 
steadily in the time of Ahmose (Ahmes) I, the founder of the 
eighteenth dynasty (c. 1580-1350 B.C. 2 ) and under his successors. 
Ahmose I placed Lower Nubia ("Wawat") under an Egyptian 
Governor, and his successor, Amenhotep (Amenophis) I, appointed 
in 1548 the first of a long line of Egyptian viceroys, who ruled 
Ethiopia during the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties. 

In the following reign, that of Thothmes I, occurred the serious 
revolt and its suppression to which reference has already been made. 

1 See Breasted, A. R. i, 652. 

2 For the following, to the close of the quotation ending "...kings of Ethiopia," 
see Reisner in Sudan Notes and Records, Oct. 1918. 

1. 2. xiii. AND THE LIBYAN ELEMENT 19 

By the time of Thothmes III the northern Sudan was adminis- 
tered by two sub-governors, one for Kush (the south) and one for 
Wawat (the north). Mines were worked by the Government, taxes 
were collected, and considerable trade was developed with the out- 
districts. In fact, from 1548 B.C. to about 1090, for some 558 years 
that is, 

Ethiopia was governed by Egyptian officials and paid tribute to Egypt.... 
The Egyptians followed up their military and political occupation by filling 
the land with Egyptians, — soldiers, officials, priests, merchants, and crafts- 
men. Southwards of Phile, temples were made, decorated, and maintained 
at Kalabsha, Gerf Husein, Kubban, Es-Sebua, Amada, Derr, Ibrim, Abu 
Simbel, Haifa (Buhen), Semneh, Soleb, Delgo (Sesi), Kawa, Gebel Barkal, 
and other places. Each of these was a centre of propaganda, a community 
of scribes learned in Egyptian medicine, law, and religion, and of artizans 
trained in every ancient craft.... The better agricultural areas at least as 
far south as Semneh were assigned to the support of the temples and turned 

over to immigrants from Egypt and their descendants for cultivation 

The viceroy himself with his personal staff probably shifted his quarters 
from el-Kab or Elephantine to Semneh or Napata as the season or the 

necessities of the administration made it seem advisable Most of the 

Egyptians were permanently domiciled in the country and had brought 
their families with them. The decimated tribes grew into a completely 
submissive population, were racially affected by intermarriage with the 
ruling class, and became more or less Egyptianized. The country, as a 
whole, was thoroughly Egyptianized, especially in religion. The names of 
the local gods were remembered, and all the gods of the Egyptian pantheon 
were called upon in their special functions, but the great god was Amon- 
Ra, the god of the Theban family who had conquered so much of the 

world He dwelt in the midst of the "Holy Mount" which we now 

call Gebel Barkal, and in the days to come his oracles were to decide the 
fates of even the kings of Ethiopia. 

Now there are no pictorial representations of Nubians dating 
from any dynasty earlier than the eighteenth, but it has been sug- 
gested as curious 1 that from then until the time of the twentieth 
dynasty — at a time, that is, when we know the Middle Nubian popu- 
lation to have been physically similar to that of the present day — 
the Nubians who were conquered by the great kings of the New 
Empire, and who were probably the same people as those whose 
boundaries Senusert (Sesostris) III some three centuries before had 
fixed at Semna, are habitually represented as "full-blooded Negroes 
with coarse negro features." This, however, would appear to be 
perfectly natural. The negroes living south of the second cataract 
and in the country beyond used to raid periodically to the north of 

1 Seligman, loc. cit. p. 617. 

2 — 2 


it. Senusert III repelled them 1 and fixed their boundary above 
Haifa. Later, the negroes — no doubt the same ones — gave further 
trouble, and Thothmes I defeated them even more completely and 
forced them back to the third cataract. It seems probable that it is 
these negro invaders who are depicted from the eighteenth to the 
twentieth dynasty, and not the more permanent and rightful inhabi- 
tants of Lower Nubia. 

Discussion of the Negro Type found in Nubia under the 
twelfth and eighteenth dynasties. the kordofan type? 

XIV There is some reason to think that these negroes whom 
Senusert III defeated and forbade to pass north of Haifa, the 
" plaited-haired ones" with whom Thothmes I later warred farther 
to the south, the men depicted as tall, coarse, full-blooded negroes, 
were probably akin to the tall mesaticephalous type that now survives 
in southern Kordofan and whose remains, dating from the time of 
the twenty-fifth dynasty (Taharka, Tanutamon, etc.) and earlier, 
have lately been found at Gebel Moya and other hills in the Gezira 2 . 
They no doubt followed the Nile in their northward movement, 
impelled perhaps by the Nilotic stock behind them, but it is as well 
to bear in mind the possibility that some of them also came overland 
through Kordofan by way of the Wadi el Mukaddam 3 . 

XV It is to this type, the "nebed" that the name Nuba is, I sug- 
gest, most properly applied, and it is a noticeable fact that the Arab 
of the present day hardly ever speaks of the Nilotic negro of the 
south by that name: he instinctively reserves it, on the other hand, 
(a) for the big black of southern Kordofan, (b) the hybrid race living 

1 See above, and Breasted, A. R. I, 640. 

2 Dr Derry, who examined the burial sites at G. Moya, and Prof. Seligman 
who has closely studied the Nuba of southern Kordofan, agree as to the close 
resemblance between the early Ptolemaic negro of the Gezira and the present type 
in southern Kordofan (see Seligman, loc. cit. p. 625). 

"The cemeteries of this site [G. Moya] have yielded the remains of a tall 
coarsely built Negro or Negroid race with extraordinarily massive skulls and jaws. 
In a general way they appear to resemble the coarser type of Nuba living in south 
Kordofan at the present day, and it is significant that the cranial indices of the 
men of Jebel Moya and the Nuba hills agree closely." (Seligman, Address to the 
Anthrop. Section of the Brit. Assoc, for the Advancement of Science, Report, 1915, 

P- 9-) 

Of the physical characteristics of the Nuba of southern Kordofan Prof. 
Seligman says: "They are a tall, stoutly-built, muscular people, with a dark, almost 
black skin. They are predominantly mesaticephalic... nearly 60 per cent, of the 
individuals measured are mesaticephals, the remainder being dolicocephalic and 
brachicephalic in about equal proportions." ("The Physical Characters of the 
Nuba of Kordofan," R. A. I. xl, 1910.) 

For Reisner's remarks on the excavations at Gebel Moya see Sudan Notes and 
Records, Jan. 1919, p. 65. 

3 See later in this chapter. 


at el Haraza, Kaga, and other hills in the north of Kordofan, and 
(c) to denote the aborigines extirpated by the Fung at the beginning 
of the sixteenth century in the Gezfra and the neighbourhood of the 
Shabluka cataract. 

In the form "Nubia," however, the name came to be applied not 
to the country whence these negroes came but to the scene of their 
greatest triumphs, the valley of the Nile between the first cataract 
and Napata. Nay more, by the irony of fate, although the northern 
portion of this same country throughout the early and the later 
dynastic, the Ptolemaic, and Roman periods, and again in the time 
of the Mamliiks, was considered almost an annex of Egypt and was 
largely populated by Egyptian colonies, the use of the name " Nubia " 
was tending more and more to be restricted to it rather than to the 
southern portion, and we shall see that by the time of Ibn Selim in 
the latter part of the tenth century it was not uncommon to regard 
it as applying par excellence to that most northernly district of the 
Sudan commonly called Maris, which ended some way north of the 
second cataract 1 . 

The Libyo-Egyptian period in Nubia and the Nubian 

Conquest of Egypt 

XVI About 945 B.C. the Libyans, who in the course of centuries 
had obtained a strong footing in Lower Egypt and the Delta and 
became partly Egyptianized, seized the throne of the Pharaohs and 
founded the twenty-second dynasty 2 . How this affected the Sudan 
immediately we do not know, but in the records of 750 B.C. the 
northern Sudan appears "no longer as a province of Egypt but as 
the seat of an independent monarchy of which the Thebaid was the 
northern province," and Reisner thinks it likely that, as the Libyan 
kings subsequently weakened and power became decentralized, 
Kashta, the Libyan ( ?) representative commanding in the northern 
Sudan and a member of the royal family, assumed independence. 
He even, it appears, invaded Egypt and established his supremacy 
as far north as Thebes. His capital was at Napata (Gebel Barkal), 
and we may assume that though he and his staff may have been 
Egypto- Libyans, the mass of his subjects were Nubians of the 
present darker type in the north and negroes or semi-negroes in 
the south. 

1 Cp. Budge, 1, 651, and n, 105; also Letronne, loc. cit. Evidence of the con- 
sistency with which this tract south of Aswan was considered an annex of Egypt 
will be adduced later (see Part II, Chap. 2). 

2 For the followingsee Reisner in SudanNotes and Record*, for Jan. and Oct. 19 19. 

22 THE NUBIANS, THE NUBA 1. 2. xvn. 

XVII Kashta was succeeded by his son Piankhi (744-710 B.C. 1 ). 
This king took further advantage of the decadence that had over- 
taken Egypt and completed the work begun by his father in over- 
running the whole country and making it tributary to him. 

XVIII Piankhi was succeeded about 710 B.C. by his brother 
Shabaka. This monarch, not content with merely receiving tribute, 
firmly established his authority over the whole of Egypt. 

He was followed by Shabataka 2 , and the latter, about 688 B.C., 
by Taharka (a son of Piankhi), who in the reign of Shabaka had 
commanded the Ethiopian army that was sent to Palestine to assist 
Hezekiah against the Assyrians of Sennacherib, who were now 
approaching the eastern borders of Egypt. 

The Assyrian Danger 

XIX Taharka's main preoccupation throughout his reign was to 
stem the tide of this Assyrian invasion. But he was unsuccessful, 
and in 670 B.C. Esarhaddon forced his way to the Egyptian frontier 
and heavily defeated him. Taharka retired southwards leaving the 
Delta and Memphis in the hands of the Assyrians 3 . 

Esarhaddon, however, did not press his success, and as he with- 
drew northwards Taharka reoccupied Memphis and renewed his 
intrigues with the Palestinian kings. 

XX On the death of Esarhaddon in 668, his son Ashurbanipal 
continued the fresh campaign that had been started against Taharka 
and achieved a decisive victory in the eastern Delta. Taharka again 
retired southwards. The Assyrians followed and occupied Thebes, 
reinstated the Libyo-Egyptian dynasts as Governors in Egypt and 
left garrisons. Ashurbanipal himself then returned with his spoil 
to Nineveh. 

Shortly afterwards Taharka died 4 . 

XXI Tanutamon, a son of Shabaka (who had married Taharka's 

1 The dates given for the twenty-fifth dynasty are as amended by Reisner in 
Oct. 1919. 

2 Manetho makes him son of Shabaka, but Breasted {Hist. p. 377) thinks this 
a little doubtful. Piankhi, Shabaka and Shabataka, it may be noted, were all buried 
at Gebel Kurru near Barkal (Reisner, Sudan Notes and Records, Oct. 1919). 

3 Breasted (loc. cit. p. 378) says of Taharka: "His features as preserved in con- 
temporary sculptures shew unmistakeably negroid characteristics." Reisner, on 
the contrary (Sudan Notes and Records, Jan. 1919, p. 50), says that though the Assyrian 
king chose to represent Taharka as a negro, he "was not a negro, for the statues 
of both himself and his descendants shew features which might be Egyptian or 
Libyan but certainly not negro." 

4 He was the founder of the great royal cemeteries of Ethiopia at Nuri, near 

1. 2. xxiii. AND THE LIBYAN ELEMENT 23 

sister 1 ), the last king of the twenty-fifth dynasty, came to the throne 
in 663 B.C., and, though in name he ruled over both Egypt and the 
Sudan 2 , in fact the only result of his attempts to recover Lower 
Egypt was that he was driven back and Thebes was sacked by the 

By 654 B.C. Tanutamon was dead and buried with his great fore- 
fathers Piankhi, Shabaka and Shabataka near Gebel Barkal, and the 
power of the Sudan over Egypt had come utterly to an end. 

The Meroitic Period and after 

XXII On the final separation of Ethiopia from Egypt Psammetichus 
(Psamtik) I, who had been installed by the Assyrians as King of 
Sais and Memphis and become founder of the twenty-sixth Egyptian 
dynasty, did not concern himself greatly with the Sudan. The rulers 
of that country, too, turned their attention southwards and the 
province of Meroe was consolidated and developed near the junction 
of the Atbara and the Nile 3 . It was 

made an integral part of Ethiopia as Ethiopia had been of Egypt. Meroe 
was Ethiopianized, that is, brought under the influence of the Egyptian 
culture which had been inherited from the days of the viceroys. But this 
Egypto-Ethiopian culture... was certainly greatly diluted by its extension 
to Meroe. Meroe was Ethiopianized, not Egyptianized. 

About 440 B.C., as Reisner believes, and certainly before 350 B.C.: 

Meroe had in its turn absorbed Ethiopia itself, just as Ethiopia, three 
centuries before, had absorbed its mother country Egypt. The degeneration 
of the culture became more rapid... even the race was changing. The 
Egyptian element was being overborne by others, Libyan, Nubian, negro, 
or whatever it may have been. The fine traits of the educated and skilled 
Egyptian were visibly fading into the coarse features of a negroid race 
which may have been slow at forgetting but was incapable of giving a 
creative impulse to art, learning, or religion. 

XXIII We now have, as a result of Reisner's work at Nuri and the 
vicinity, an almost complete list of the kings that followed Tanutamon, 
but there is no point in recording them here. More important is the 
fact that certainly by the time of Nastasenen (Nastasen), who reigned 
from 298-278 B.C., and probably by about 440 B.C., the political 
capital was at Meroe while the religious capital remained at Napata. 

The temples of Napata with their endowed bodies of priests and crafts- 
men educated in the learning of Egypt remained the cultural centre of the 

1 Breasted, A. R. iv, 920, note. 2 Ibid, iv, 920. 

3 The date of the actual foundation of the city of Meroe is not known. For 
further details as to Meroe and for the settlement of the Automoloi in the south 
see the following chapter. 

24 THE NUBIANS, THE NUBA 1. 2. xxm. 

kingdom, while Meroe became the centre of material wealth and political 
power — It was not until a generation or so after the death of Nastasen 
that the rulers of Meroe introduced a revival of learning and art under the 
influence of Ptolemaic Egypt and made their capital for the first time the 
cultural centre of Ethiopia. 

XXIV Some further remarks on Meroe and its people will be 
attempted in the next chapter, but, before leaving the subject of the 
inhabitants of Nubia proper, we must first turn to the classical 
geographers of the Ptolemaic period, since they provide certain items 
of information that are of value. 

XXV We have seen that it was Eratosthenes who first used the 
term Noi"/3«t in the third century B.C. As quoted by Strabo he says: 

On the left side of the course of the Nile live the Noubai, in Libya, 
a great race, beginning from Meroe and extending as far as the bends 
[of the river] . They are not subject to the Ethiopians but live independently, 
being divided into several sovereignties 1 . 

Agathemerus (third century a.d.) in a bald list of African races 
includes No0/3<u (sic) on either side of the Nile 2 . 

Pliny says: "The island of the Semberritae on the Nile obeys a 
queen. Eight days journey further [north] are the Ethiopian Nubei. 
Their city of Tenupsis is on the Nile 3 ." 

Ptolemaeus simply mentions a number of Ethiopian tribes with 
outlandish names, but contributes nothing definite to our knowledge 
of them beyond that they lived on the Nile, in the Island of Meroe 
and beyond, and in the western steppes 4 . 

Procopius 5 says of Elephantine (Aswan) in the latter half of the 
sixth century, "There live, besides many other races, the very large 
tribes of Blemyes and Nobatae. The former occupy the interior of 
the country and the latter reside in the Nile valley " ; and relates that 

1 O- dpicrrepuiv Si rr)S piaews tov Ne/Xou No0/3cu KaroiKovaiv iv rrj Ai^ijrj, /xtya. tdvos, 
diro T77S Mep6?;s dp^d/xevoi fJ.^xP L r & v dyKwvwv, oi'X viroTarrbixevoi toTs 'A.idi.6\piv, d\\' ISia 
kcli{?) irXelois fiaaiXelais diei\7]/j.fxevoi. Strabo, ed. Casaubon, XVII, 786. 

2 Bk. 11, Ch. 5, p. 41 ap. Geogr. Minores. Agathemerus wrote in Greek an 
abridgement of Ptolemy's Geography entitled Geographias Hupotyposis. 

3 Pliny, Hist. Nat. Bk. vi, § 35. " Insula in Nilo Semberritarum reginae paret. 
Ab ea Nubei Aethiopes dierum octo itinere. Oppidum eorum Nilo impositum, 
Tenupsis." For the island of the Semberritae (Sembritae), which is perhaps the 
district between Kassala and Kallabat, see following chapter. 

Pliny also calls some tribe in Syria by the same name of Nubei. "Nee non in 
media Syriae ad Libanum montem penetrantibus Nubeis, quibus junguntur Ramisi. 
Deinde Taranei, deinde Patami." (Bk. vi, § 32.) 

4 Ed. Muller, Bk. iv, 748-783. 

5 De Bello Persico, Bk. I, 59. The text is as follows: evravda tdvr\ re &\\a iroWa. 
LOpvTai Kal B\ip.vh re /cat No/3drcu, iro\vavdpuir6Ta.Ta ytvri dXXd IW/iives fxev ravr-qs 5r] tt)s 
Xcipay es rd fxiaa. wKTjvTai, No/3dTcu de to. dp.(pl NeiXov iroTa^bv ^own. Procopius was 
born about 500 and died about 565 a.d. 

1. 2. xxvii. AND THE LIBYAN ELEMENT 25 

Diocletian (284-305 a.d.) as well as paying to both tribes a sort of 
Dane-geld, gave the Nobatae a tract on the Nile banks and entrusted 
to them the care of the Dodekaschoinos, the district south of 
Aswan 1 . 

XXVI In The Egyptian Sudan Budge speaks 2 of these Nobatae or 
Nuba as "a powerful tribe of nomads who lived in the Western 
Desert" and adds "The Nobatae appear to have come originally 
from Dar Fur and Kordofan and in Diocletian's time their settle- 
ments extended to the oasis of Kharga." Again he says 3 "The 
people who lived in the deserts on the west of the Nile... were known 
to classical writers as 'Nubae,' or Nubians, and 'Nobadae' or 
'Nobatae.' In Roman times the Nubians consisted of a league of 
the great tribes of the Western Desert 4 ." 

The statement that the settlements of the Nuba extended to the 
oases of Kharga rests on the remark of Procopius 5 to the effect that 
the Nobatae who were settled by Diocletian between Egypt and the 
Blemyes had originally lived "about the city oasis" {i.e. Kharga). 
It has been objected 6 that the inhabitants of the oases were un- 
doubtedly of a Libyan stock, and that the Nobatae were essentially 
a Nilotic race and could not have been so far north, and that therefore 
Procopius was at fault. But this is a very risky line of argument: 
there is no proof that the Nobatae were essentially Nilotic, and there 
is a quite definite probability that the Libyan races, the ancient 
Temehu, and the Nobatae, whether on the river or west of it, had 
commingled. Throughout history the nomads of the west, Libyans 
or Berbers, have maintained an intimate connection with the dwellers 
in the Nile valley; and there may have been both Libyans and 
Nobatae at Kharga, or a mixture of the two. 

XXVII As regards the religion of these Nubians the evidence is 
very slight. In 452 a.d., Priscus tells us 7 , a peace was made between 
Maximin, the Roman general, and the Blemyes and Nubians, and 
one clause of it stipulated that the Romans should allow the others, 
according to their ancient custom, to make a journey to Philae and 
visit the temple of Isis and take thence the statue of the goddess and 
bring it back after a certain time. 

But Christianity had by now begun to find converts in Nubia. 

1 See Evetts, p. 260. 2 II, 176. 

3 ii,4i7- 

4 In these quotations Budge seems to press somewhat ahead of the evidence. 

To what extent I agree with him will appear later. 

5 hoc. cit. 6 Hall, Review in Man of May 1912. 

7 Fragm. 21 (ed. Miiller) ap. Letronne, Materiaux..., 11, 205 ff. Priscus is a 
good authority as he was in Egypt at the time and a friend of the general. 

26 THE NUBIANS, THE NUBA 1. 2. xxvn. 

The statement of Eusebius 1 that so early as the reign of Constantine 
(313—337) Christianity had penetrated to the Ethiopians and Blemyes 
refers to the Abyssinians and Troglodytes converted by Frumentius 
in the east 2 , but it is none the less probable that there were Christians 
in Nubia at the same period, and the record of Cosmus Indico- 
pleustes prove that there were some there in the fifth century 3 . 

XXVIII In the sixth century conversion took place on a larger 
scale. A certain priest named Julianus "...was greatly concerned for 
the black people of the Nobades, who lived on the southern border 
of the Thebaid, and as they were heathen he wished to convert 
them — " He accordingly persuaded Theodora, the Empress of 
Justinian, to send him on a mission to Nubia. There he "taught and 
baptized the king and the nobles, and... thus were all the people of 
Kushites converted to the orthodox faith 4 , and they became subjects 
of the throne of Alexandria 5 ." 

By the latter half of the century 6 northern Nubia had been formed 
into a Christian kingdom under Silko, the king whose Greek inscrip- 
tion was found in the temple of Talmis (Kalabsha). It is not unlikely 
that he was the actual convert of Julianus, and he was almost certainly 
the founder of Dongola, which was to remain the capital of Nubia 
for the seven centuries during which that country barred the progress 
of the Arabs and their religion from the upper valley of the Nile. 

XXIX But when all is said we know very little of the state of affairs 
in Nubia in Silko's time or of the people over whom he ruled, their 
racial characteristics, their customs, or their polity. 

They were it seems almost continuously at war with the still 
pagan Blemyes 7 who occupied the lower valley of the Nile from 
Primis (Ibn'm) to the frontiers of Egypt; and Silko also speaks of 
his raids against "the others, above [i.e. south of] the Nobadae 8 ." 

1 Vit. Constantini, i, 8, ap. Letronne, loc. cit. 2 See I, i, xx above. 

3 See Butler, note to Abu Salih, pp. 265, 266. 

4 I.e. the monophysite beliefs. The narrator was a Jacobite or monophysite 

6 Translated by Budge (n, 295) from the Syriac of Barhebraeus's Ecclesiastical 
History. Barhebraeus, or Abu el Farag, drew upon the earlier work of John of 
Ephesus. Letronne quotes Pococke's Latin translation. Budge places Julianus's 
date between 540 and 548. Barhebraeus elsewhere, speaking inaccurately and in 
contradiction to the passage quoted, says that in the reign of Constantine were 
converted "all the negroes, such as Ethiopians, Nubians and others" (see Letronne, 
loc. cit.). 

6 So Letronne dates the inscription of Silko. 

7 The inscription of Silko says : iiroi-qca. elpi\vr\v /act' clvtuv nal w/xo<rav fx.01 ra 
ei8u\a clvtuv, " I made peace with them and they swore to me by their idols." 
They were converted shortly afterwards. 

8 The Greek is 01 dXXot 'Sovj3d8cov dvurepu. Budge (n, 292-3) wrongly trans- 
lates "the other Nobades": Letronne is correct. These others, "the other kings " 

1. 2. xxxi. AND THE LIBYAN ELEMENT 27 

He calls himself /SacrtXicrAro? NovfidBcov ical o\wv rtav AWiottcov, 
which may be translated " Mek of the Nuba and all the Ethiopians." 
But even if one allow some truth to his pretensions to overlordship 
it is clear that with the lapse of time a process of disintegration set 
in, and the petty kings, the /3aai\laKot, who are mentioned in the 
inscriptions of Axum and Talmis, were evidently prototypes of the 
meks who ruled Nubia so late as the nineteenth century and who 
still survive in name among the Gamu'i'a and some other debased 
Arab tribes in the Nile valley to the present day 1 . 

XXX Now the manuscript numbered "D4," written by a Berberi 
of Haifa, speaks of the ancient capital of the Nuba or Nubians — he 
uses the words interchangeably — as Gebel el Haraza in northern 
Kordofan, and it is clear from the context that he refers to the time 
of the twenty-fifth dynasty, i.e. " The Nubian Period." I am inclined 
to think this is not so far from the truth as might at first sight be 
supposed. The people of the hills of el Haraza, Abu Hadi'd and Urn 
Durrag, which lie some 150 miles west of the junction of the Niles. 
are still called Nuba in spite of the racial modifications they have 
undergone by admixture with Danagla from the Nile ; and both the 
hills mentioned and also the now uninhabited hills in their neighbour- 
hood show plentifully such traces of ancient occupation as stone 
villages on the slopes and old tumuli, presumably graves, by the 
sides of the little water-courses cut bv the rains in the wet season, 
and on the crests of the hills. Similar tumuli are to be found at 
intervals all along the banks of the great Wadi el Mukaddam which, 
starting from near Bagbagi, about seventy miles east of el Haraza, 
runs across the Bayuda desert to Korti at the southern end of the 
great bend of the Nile 2 . 

XXXI From el Haraza to Korti is only two hundred odd miles 
and the journey is easy. One can follow the course of the Wadi el 
Mukaddam for most of the way and find plentiful water at a shallow 

as they are elsewhere called in the inscription, were no doubt the "several sove- 
reignties" spoken of by Eratosthenes 700 years earlier, but Silko does not specifi- 
cally call them Nobadae. 

1 Sir C. Wilson (p. 12) aptly compares these " Meks" with the kings of Palestine 
overthrown by Joshua. 

2 I have opened some of these tumuli, but neither in them nor under them have 
I found anything: they certainly were not houses and the only feasible suggestion 
that I can make is that they were cairns made to protect the bodies of the dead from 
wild beasts and that the action of wind and rain percolating among the boulders of 
which they are composed and the ravages of insects have destroyed all trace of 
flesh and bones alike. It is probably to the custom of erecting such cairns that 
Agatharcides (q.v. ap. Strabo, III, 34) refers when he says that among the Megabarai 
the dead are tied neck and heels and carried to the top of a hill where they are 
pelted with stones until they are covered over (see, however, Bent, p. 78). The 
cairns are roughly circular in shape and the stones are entirely unshaped. 

28 THE NUBIANS, THE NUBA 1. 2. xxxi. 

depth all along it, or if one prefer there is a more direct route, that 
followed by the Turks in 1821 and by most of the Arab caravans, 
via the deeper desert wells of el Safia, Hobagi, and Elai. Further 
west and very roughly parallel to the Wadi el Mukaddam is the 
similar Wadi el Melik running from the Darfur border into the Nile 
at Debba, only forty-five miles west of Korti. 

At el 'Ayn on this Wadi and at Abu Sufian to the west of it are 
similar traces of human occupation well known to the nomads 1 , and 
at the southern end of it near the Darfur border they are very common 

XXXII In these parts the underground water supply has decreased 
to a very striking extent of late years, and that in ancient days the 
rainfall was considerably more heavy is proved, I think, by the 
presence of gigantic baobabs (tubeldi: Adansonia digitata) that 
are centuries old and could hardly have passed through the early 
stages of growth had the country been as dry as it now is. Some 
hundreds of years ago the country on both sides of the two great 
Wadis mentioned may have been habitable all the year through 2 . 

XXXIII Now it is certain that in past centuries Danagla from the 
Nile have settled at el Haraza, and fresh colonies have joined the 
older ones within recent years 3 . It is also believed by the people of 
Gebel Midob in Darfur, about 140 miles west of the Wadi el Melik, 
that their ancestors were Mahass and Danagla from the Nile 4 , and, 
as Professor Seligman has pointed out 5 , there are very close linguistic 
resemblances between a list of their numerals which I collected in 
19 1 2 6 and those of the Barabra on the river. 

Emigrant Barabra may have reached Gebel Midob by way of 
el Haraza and Kaga, or more probably by way of the Wadi el Melik 7 . 
But if Barabra from Korti and Debba, which are between the third 
and fourth cataracts and only a few miles from the pyramids of 
Barkal, could settle at el Haraza, as we know they did, and at Midob, 
as we may be fairly sure they did 8 , there is no reason to deny the 
probability of corresponding movements along the same lines in the 

1 I have not visited personally these two sites. 

2 During six years that I passed in northern Kordofan I never saw a young 
baobab growing self-sown. The Arabs also declare there is no such thing and say 
the "tubeldis" date from the time of Noah. 

3 For details see MacMichael, Tribes..., Chap. vi. 

4 Ibid. Chap. vn. Matrilinear descent with inheritance by the sister's son still 
holds good at Midob as it did in Christian Dongola. See p. 59. 

6 hoc. cit. Cf. the vocabularies of Kenuz and Nubians given by Burckhardt. 

6 Published vtxjourn. Anthrop. Inst, xlii, 1912, p. 339. 

7 Marauders from Mfdob and thereabouts follow this line in the rainy season 
and early winter when raiding the Arabs. 

8 See Part I, Chap. 4. 

1. 2. xxxv. AND THE LIBYAN ELEMENT 29 

opposite direction at other times , and I am strongly inclined to think that 
the Nobatae were once lords of the Bayuda and the country south of it 
and that their negro ancestors may have previously ousted the Libyan 
races therefrom, or, more probably, become fused with them in race. 

XXXIV The nehes of Senusert III and Thothmes I, and, to a 
modified extent, most of the western and southern subjects of the 
Nubian dynasty which ruled Egypt, may have been of the same stock 
as these negro ancestors- of the Nobatae and their partly Libyanized 
descendants respectively; and if the racial substratum was the same, 
it is natural to suppose that the extent and direction of migration to 
and from the river were at different periods regulated by the weak- 
ness or strength, as the case might be, of other and hostile races 
living on the Nile. 

For instance, when the tide of negro invasion was rolled back 
from northern Nubia in the time of the New Empire, most would 
retire southwards along the river, but the presence of alien Nilotic 
negroes in their path, or other causes, may have led a proportion to 
move westwards, where their kin may or may not have been already 
established. .If the same stock, as modified by Libyan admixture, 
was strong enough at a later date to support the Nubian Empire of 
Napata it was by then probably predominant also in northern 
Kordofan, and a steady intercourse would naturally exist between 
the riverain and western groups, until the third century B.C. when 
Eratosthenes spoke of them collectively as Nov/Sat. 

In any case there is evidence of a close connection between the 
negro invaders of the second millennium B.C., the rank and file of the 
Nubians who conquered Egypt under the twenty-fifth dynasty, the 
inhabitants of the Gezi'ra at the same period, the present inhabitants 
of the Nuba mountains of southern Kordofan, the Nobatae of Lower 
Nubia, and the so-called Nuba of northern Kordofan. 

XXXV The weakest link in the chain is perhaps that connecting 
northern and southern Kordofan, but even here, at the present day, 
though the general physique is obviously quite different, there is a 
common fund of superstitions connected with rainmakers and ser- 
pents, and recognizable cranial resemblances 1 . 

1 Particularly the flattening of the fronto-parietal region. This was pointed out 
to me in 19 12 at Kaga by Professor Seligman (q.v. in Harvard African Studies, 
11; Varia Ajricana, 11, 181). It may be worth mentioning in this connection 
that some years ago I was told at Kaga that the ancient ("Anag") population 
used to bury their dead upright. Lepsius was told the same of Southern Kordofan 
{Discoveries..., pp. 221-2). Kordofan takes its name from the hill of that name 
close to el Obeid. As used by the natives the name does not properly apply to the 
nomad country to the north nor to the Kaga-Haraza group of hills adjoining it nor 
to the Nuba mountains in the south. See MacMichael, Tribes..., App. 1. 

3 o THE NUBIANS, THE NUBA 1. 2. xxxvi. 

XXXVI Other minor points that possibly serve to connect the old 
inhabitants of central and northern Kordofan with the people who 
lived at the time of the twenty-fifth dynasty in the Gezira, and even 
east of it, are, firstly, the occurrence of tumuli, exactly similar to 
those described above, both on the Kerreri hills close to Omdurman 
and on the small rocky eminences, such as Gebel el Kehayd, round 
Wad Hasuna and Abu Delayk 1 , and, secondly, the similarity between 
the contents of some middens 2 I found at Faragab in Central Kordo- 
fan near Bara and objects found at Gebel Moya {e.g. ostrich-egg 
beads 3 ) and at Meroe 4 , and, thirdly, the finding of flat stone rings 
which may conceivably have been ceremonial mace-heads, or in some 
cases weapons of offence, but which, I think, are more likely to have 
been weights 5 , or stands for round-bottomed jars, both in the 

1 Both several days' journey east of Khartoum. 

2 See MacMichael, Tribes..., Appendix and Plate XIX, and Seligman in Annals 
of Arch, and Anthr. July 1916. 

3 These ostrich-egg beads also provide a link with the Northern Nuba hills. 
Pallme (p. 156) speaks of the people of the latter (Daier, Tekali, etc.) as wearing 
round their loins "a number of small buttons of about the size of a shirt-button, 
made of the shell of the ostrich's egg, with a perforation in the centre, through 
which a string is passed, connecting them together. I took the trouble," he says, 
"of counting the single buttons of one of these ribbons in my possession, and 
found a total number of 6860." 

At the same time the use of ostrich-egg beads is not confined to the Nuba 
stock. The Shilluk men commonly wear girdles made of them. They break the shell 
into irregular bits, pierce the fragment in the centre, and then round off the edges 
by crushing (Westermann, p. xxxi). 

4 See Seligman, loc. cit., discussing these resemblances, especially that between 
the types of pottery at Meroe and Faragab. He thinks that " At a somewhat remote 
period — perhaps at least as far back as the Ptolemaic — the Faragab site was occupied 
by a people rich in cattle, living in huts of grass or straw, and using bone points 
for their weapons ; a people rich in ivory, which they worked with implements of 

5 MacMichael, loc. cit. Plate II. Some of these — they are in the museum at 
Khartoum — are porphyrite, felsite, gneiss, or granite, i.e. as at Basa, but most are 
of soft sandstone and too light and friable for use as weapons. The Nubas of southern 
Kordofan use spherical stone-headed clubs (Seligman, "A Neolithic Site..." Journ. 
R. A. I. XL, 1910). The stone rings from Kayli, of which I have collected numbers 
and which, though rougher in workmanship, are exactly the same as some of those 
from northern Kordofan, are dated by Crowfoot from about A.D. 150 to a.d. 350 
(Seligman, loc. cit. p. 214). 

In ancient as in modern Egypt there were public weighers, and money was 
in the form of rings of gold and silver, and was also tested by its weight. Wilkinson, 
speaking of these rings, says : " And it is remarkable that the same currency is today 
employed in Sennar and the neighbouring countries." Furthermore, he notes, 
"The Jews also weighed their money. Their weights were of stone; and the word 
weight in Hebrew. ..also means a stone" {Manners and Customs..., II, 10, 11). The 
illustrations from Thebes depicted by Wilkinson show that these weights were very 
like the stone rings of Meroe, and the latter may possibly have been made in imitation 
of the Egyptian system. Cp. also Breasted, Hist . p. 92, for the metal rings. He adds 
that "stone weights were. . .marked with their equivalence in such rings. This ring 
money is the oldest currency known." The most ancient coinage of Darfur also 
took the form of rings. " Le premier genre de numeraire qui fut etabli au Darfour, 

1. 2. xxxix. AND THE LIBYAN ELEMENT 31 

northern hills of Kordofan, at Gebel Moya, Gebel Kayli (on the 
Khartoum-Kassala road), in front of the altar at Basa 1 , and in fact 
all over the Island of Meroe. 

XXXVII One may say then that when the Muhammadan Arabs 
invaded Lower Nubia in the seventh century a.d. they found there 
a race radically compounded of pre-dynastic Egyptian and cognate 
Hamitic elements blended with dynastic Egyptian and Libyan stocks 
and deeply and repeatedly modified by forty centuries of dilution 
with Negro blood 2 . One of the two main Negro strains was probably 
derived from Kordofan and the Gezi'ra and in classical times had 
been represented in modified form by the Nobatae or Nuba. 

XXXVIII As further evidence of a fusion of Nuba and Libyan 
elements in the Bayuda and west of it another fact may be cited. 

So late as the seventeenth century a.d. 3 the Bayuda was still 
known, as it had been a century earlier to Leo Africanus, as the 
Desert of Goran, or Gorham, or Gorhan, a name connected with 
"Kora'an" and, as I believe, with "Garama" and " Garamantes 4 ." 

XXXIX These Kura'an ("Guraan"), whom el Hamdani 5 , by the 
way, includes with the Nuba, Zing and Zaghawa as descendants of 
Canaan, son of Ham, are a mixture of Tibbu and negro and at the 
present day they form a large nomadic section of that race in the 
deserts north of Darfiir and Wadai 6 , and are commonly spoken of 
as "Tibbu Kura'an." Their language is a dialect of Tibbu. 

Of the Tibbu Keane says : 

The Tibu themselves, apparently direct descendants of the ancient 
Garamantes, have their primeval home in the Tibesti range, i.e. the " Rocky 
Mountains," whence they take their name (Ti-bu = "Rock People"). 
There are two distinct sections, the northern Tedas, a name recalling 
the Tedamansii, a branch of Garamantes located by Ptolemy somewhere 

le fut par les habitants du Facher....Ils prirent pour monnaie des anneaux d'etain..." 
(Tunisi, Voy. au Ddrfour, p. 315). On the whole, however, I lean to the theory 
that these rings of stone were simply stands on which to balance jars (Crowfoot in 
Sudan Notes and Records, Apr. 1920, p. 91). 

1 Crowfoot, "Island of Meroe" (Mem. XIX, Arch. Surv. Nub. pp. 16, 17, 
and Plate XI). 

2 Cp. Elliot Smith, Arch. Surv. Nubia, Bull, in, 1909, pp. 22 ff. 

3 See R. Blome's Geographical Description... (1670) quoted in the Hakluyt ed. 
of Leo Africanus, 1, 28. 

4 I have discussed this subject more fully in an Appendix to The Tribes of 
Northern and Central Kordofan. 

5 See Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 571. 

6 The name Kura'an also occurs in Arabia as that of a section of Huwaytat near 
Diba on the Red Sea coast. Burton {Land of Midian, n, 97) mentions these people: 
he says that the port of Dumaygha belongs to the Beli ("Baliyy") who are "mixed 
with a few Kura'an-Huwaytat and Karaizah-Hutaym." Burckhardt (Nubia, p. 510), 
commenting on the passage from el Hamdani, says: "The Negroe Moslims to this 
day apply the name of Koran indiscriminately to all the pagan Negro nations." 

32 THE NUBIANS, THE NUBA I. 2. xxxix. 

between Tripolitana and Phazania (Fezzan); and the Southern Dazas, 
through whom the Tibu merge gradually in the negroid populations of 
[the] central Sudan. This intermingling with the blacks dates from remote 
times, whence Ptolemy's remark that the Garamantes seemed rather more 
"Ethiopians" than Libyans The full-blood Tibus...are true Hamites 1 . 

XL The accounts given by Herodotus, Ptolemy and Pomponius 
Mela 2 give an impression of the Garamantes as a nomad race extend- 
ing from north of Fezzan as far south as Nubia. 

Herodotus says: "The Garamantians have four-horse chariots in 
which they chase the Troglodyte Ethiopians 3 ," and Ptolemy "Some 
very great races inhabit Labya, namely that of the Garamantes which 
extends from the sources of the river Bagrada as far as the lake of 
Nuba,"...&c. 4 

XLI Again, more than a millennium later, we have Leo (fi. 1513-15) 
saying 5 : 

Nubia... is enclosed on the south side with the desert of Goran. The 
king of Nubia maintaineth continuall warre partly against the people of 
Goran (who being descended of the people called Zingani 6 inhabite the 
deserts and speaks a kinde of language that no other nation vnderstandeth) 
and partly against certain other people... (i.e. the "Bugiha" or Bega 7 ). 

XLII On the strength of these quotations alone, one would, I 
think, be justified in assuming that, just as for many years before 
the Christian era there had been contact and fusion between the 
dark Nubians and the Libyan races descended from the Temehu in 
the country between Dongola and Darfur, so, too, in the Christian 
period there was similar contact between the Nuba (Nobatae) and 
the Tibbu in that region. 

1 Man: Past and Present, p. 474. The latest anthropological researches in no 
way clash with Keane's view. MM. Gaillard and Poutrin, authors of £tude anthro- 
pologique des populations des regions du Tchad et du Kanem, agree that they are 
largely Berbers, and measurements shewed that they "belong to a physical type 
closely resembling the Nigritians of the Sahara" (Review in Man, March 1915). 
Carette (loc. cit. p. 312) also says that the Tibbu and Tuwarek are by origin Lamta 
Berbers. Nachtigal regarded them as a "population intermediate between the 
indigenous peoples of North Africa and the Negroes of the Sudan " (Vol. 11 of Sah. 
und Sudan, quoted by Carbou, 1, 120). 

2 De Situ Orbis, ch. iv. 3 Bk. iv, chaps. 174, 183. 

4 Bk. IV, p. 742. kclI /jLiyuTTa /xiv '£Qvt) KaTavi/ierai r-qv Ai(3u7jv rb re tQv Tapa- 
fxdvTUJV dirJKOv atrb ruv rod Ra.ypa.5a irorafxov irriyGiv p.ixP L T V S Nou/3ci \lp.vr)S...Kai 

5 11, 836. For the Zingani see p. 56. Marmol's version of the passage quoted 
is : " Le prince [i.e. of Dongola] a guerre ordinairement tantost contre ceux de 
Gorhan, qui est une espece d'Egyptiens qui courent par les deserts et parlent un 
langage particulier, tantost contre les peuples qui demeurent au Levant du Nil 
dans le desert" (trans. Perrot, in, 71 ff.). Marmol flourished about 1520. 

6 Leo's original is "una generazione di zingani" (see Carbou, 1, 118). 

7 For further remarks on the I£ura'an of the present day see Chap. 4 of this Part. 



A strong argument for the hypothesis is also provided by the case, 
already quoted, of Gebel Midob, where we have a negro-Hamitic 
population claiming relationship with the Nubians of the Nile and 
speaking a language akin to that of the latter 1 . 

XLIII Further evidence is perhaps to be found in the rock-pictures 
at Shalashi 2 one of the small hills composing the Haraza range on the 
southern fringe of the meeting-ground of the two races. These are 
very similar in type to those which occur elsewhere throughout that 
portion of North Africa which has been principally subjected to 
Libyan influences 3 . 

XLIV At what date the modified Nuba stock in northern Kordofan 
was replaced in the plains by the nomad Arabs it is hard to say, but 
the Kababish insist that only some five or six generations ago their 
grandfathers were still engaged in extirpating "Nuba" from the 
small and less easily defensible hills. The country is so eminently 
suitable for camel-breeding that the Arab is not likely to have over- 
looked it when he first began to settle in the Sudan. The orographical, 
hydrographical and climatic conditions and the vegetation of 
northern and central Kordofan all wonderfully resemble those of 
the Arabian highlands : it is a land of steppes and pasture with suffi- 
cient water obtainable for the scanty needs of the nomad : it is not 
given over to the agriculturist and there are no great mountain chains 
to impede free roaming. But in Leo's time, early in the sixteenth 

1 The case of the Birked of south-central Darfur, who also speak a language 
closely akin to that of the Barabra will be dealt with in Chap. 4 of this Part. 

2 Lejean saw them and gave a highly fanciful and misleading description of 
them, which is quoted by Hartmann in Die Nigritier (Berlin, 1876, p. 41). I copied 
them as closely as I could in 1908, and published the result with some notes in 
Journ. Anthr. Inst, xxxix, 1909. They are quite distinct in type to the rudely engraved 
(or sometimes painted) "uncouth outlines in shepherd's ruddle" which occur on 
other hills at el Haraza, near Foga in western Kordofan, at G. Daier on the northern 
fringe of Dar Nuba, in Somaliland, in Arabia, and all over the Tuwarek country, 
and which by the inclusion of the camel prove themselves not earlier than the 
beginning of the Christian era, and may be much more recent since the natives of 
the present day in the Sudan draw such, e.g. on the walls of rooms. The pictures 
at Shalashi are full of life and movement and are graceful and well proportioned : 
they are in red and white pigment, and represent men on horseback; also giraffes 
and hyenas. See U Anthropologic, xn, 1901 (Flamand) for pictures of this type; 
and for the ruder type U Anthropologic, vin, 1897 (Flamand); xvn, 1906 (Carette- 
Bouvet); xv, 1904 (Gautier) ; Journ. Anthr. Inst, xliv, 1914 (Zeltner); etc. 

3 One of the ancient place-names in the same locality is also curiously suggestive. 
At Kaga, some 100 miles west of el Haraza, is a large outstanding hill called Bakalai, 
a name which recalls a passage, following on mention of the island of Meroe and 
the tribes south of it, in Ptolemy's Geography: "In the rest of the country, but 
farther west of the Ethiopian hills, in the sandy and waterless region, dwell the 
races of Phazania [Fezzan] and Bakalitis." See Ptolemy, Bk. ill, p. 783, ed. Miiller : 
to. 8e Xot7rd tt\% x^P as 8v<rfAix<^ T£ P a ^ T & v AldioiriKuv dpewv ko.t€xovo~l fxera rrjv Kal 
ajipoxov x<*>p°- v oi Kara tt\v $>a£ai>iav /cat Ba KaXlnv. Barth (iv, 580) identifies Ptolemy's 
Bakalitis with Wargela, far to the north. 

M.S.I. 3 

34 I- 2. XLIV. 

century, it seems to have been still held by the darker people whose 
affinities we have discussed. In the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries the Arab element entered the country from two sides. In 
the first place the nomads came in from the direction of Dongola 
and soon obtained a predominance in the plains north of the latitude 
of Kaga. Here at the present day the so-called Nuba, whose type 
ranges from the negroid to the debased Arab, and a smattering of 
Danagla, hold only the largest of the hills, el Haraza, Kaga, Katul, 
Um Durrag, and Abu Hadid, which alone possess a water supply 
sufficient to support their population. They live in comparative amity 
with the nomads, and are not afraid to place their villages at the foot 
of the hills instead of, as previously, on the slopes, and to cultivate 
and graze in the plain. In a few generations they seem likely to be 
indistinguishable from the sedentary inhabitants of central Kordofan. 
XLV In the second place, in the sixteenth century the allied forces 
of Fung and Arab, having taken Soba and Kerri from the 'Anag or 
Nuba and founded the kingdom of Sennar, began to push north- 
wards and westwards. By the middle of the following century they 
had begun definitely to assert themselves in central Kordofan. The 
population there in all probability was still essentially Nuba, but it 
may already have become to some extent adulterated with the negroid 
Darfurian races 1 , some remnants of whom still exist in the northern 
hills and further south. 

1 Q.v. Chap. 4. For an account of the people of el Haraza, Kaga, etc. see 
Chap. VI of my Tribes of Northern and Central Kordofan. They are still known as 
Nuba and the common people call themselves so. Their subdivisions shew traces 
of totemistic origin: five of them are named respectively (in Arabic) " Cattlefolk," 
"Ratfolk," "Sheepfolk," "Woodfolk," "Horsefolk." For this subject refer to 
Robertson Smith, pp. 186 ff. and 217 ff., and for other examples see p. 94 et passim. 


The Bega, the Blemyes and the Nuba of Meroe 

I Let us now turn to the Eastern Desert between the river and 
the Red Sea. 

II Here lived in the seventh century the Hamitic Bega, who in 
the far distant mists of antiquity may have come from Arabia 1 , and 
who in their present form still largely resemble the pre-dynastic 
Egyptian type. 

At the present day the Bisharin, Hadendoa and Beni 'Amir are 
the three great tribes which represent the Bega. 

The two former still speak To-Bedawi; but the latter, who live 
further south on the confines of Abyssinia, speak the Semitic Tigre, 
and "from the national standpoint... are less homogeneous than the 
Hadendoa and kindred tribes," and physically differ distinctly from 
the other Bega. There is a "steady rise in the cephalic index from 
747 in the south (Beni Amer) to 79 in the north (Bisharin)." The 
Beni 'Amir are shorter and shew less trace of Negro and Armenoid 
admixture than the others. They are "the most dolichocephalic of 
modern Bega 2 ." Professor Seligman considers that the Hadendoa 
are representatives of the Beni 'Amir stock modified chiefly by 
miscegenation with the tall negroes of the Nile Valley, and also, in 
all probability, with the quite alien long-bearded, round-headed 
Armenoid population which since the third millennium B.C., if not 
earlier, exerted a profound influence on Egypt as the immediate 
result of the ever-increasing intercourse with northern Syria 3 . He 
holds that the Hadendoa and Bisharin owe the fact of their being 
more round-headed than the Beni 'Amir to their subjection to 

1 Seligman, Journ. Anthr. Inst. 1913, xliii, 595. 

2 Seligman, loc. cit. pp. 598-610. 

s Elliot Smith, The Ancient Egyptians, pp. 60, 95, 135; Seligman, loc. cit. 
p. 603. The various Armenoid groups of Asia Minor "are all descended from tribes 
belonging to the great Hittite Empire" (von Luschan, "The Early Inhabitants of 
Western Asia," Journ. Anthrop. Inst, xli, 191 1, p. 242). Of these Hittites 
von Luschan {loc. cit. p. 243) says they were settled in Western Asia when "about 
4000 B.C. began a Semitic invasion from the south-east, probably from Arabia, by 
people looking like modern Bedawy. Two thousand years later began a second 
invasion, this time from the north-west, by xanthocroous and longheaded tribes 
like the modern Kurds, half savage, and in some way or other, perhaps, connected 
with the historic Harri, Amorites, Temehu, and Galatians." 



Armenoid influences and not to immigration by the brachycephalic 
Arab population of the Hegaz and the Yemen because 

where the Semite (Arab) and Hamite have mixed the latter have ever 
adopted the language of the former, and when mixed people have arisen 
I think it can be said that they are more Arab than Hamite. It is clear 
that nothing of this sort has happened in the Red Sea Province of the 
Sudan.... It is obvious that while the Bisharin have been most modified 
by the foreign round-headed element, the Beni Amer are the least in- 
fluenced, so that, broadly speaking, their physical characters may be taken 
to be those of the original Bega inhabitants of the eastern desert 1 . 

III One notes in this conjunction that non-Bega traditions, as 
preserved in the native nisbas, are united in attributing to the 
Beni 'Amir an Arab descent which is denied to the Bisharin and 
Hadendoa : " Beni 'Amir " too is a purely Arab name. If the greater 
brachycephaly of the Bisharin and Hadendoa were due to Arab 
immigration it is not unlikely that the fact would have been reflected, 
rather than tacitly contradicted, in the traditions. 

IV A comparison between the physical characteristics of the Bega 
of the present and of the pre-dynastic Egyptians and the Nubian 
contemporaries of the latter shews very marked resemblances to exist, 
and, as Professor Seligman says, 

it seems... that it is justifiable to regard the Beni Amer, the least modified 
of the Bega tribes, as the modern representatives of the old pre-dynastic 
(and Nubian) stock, and it further appears that the modification under- 
gone by the latter during a period of some 7000 or more years is extremely 
small 2 . 

V Very closely related to the Bega tribes are the 'Ababda, whose 
habitat is from Aswan and Kena to the Red Sea and of whom a 
lesser branch live east of Berber. 

Reisner compares them with the Middle Nubians ("C Group") 
on the one hand and with the present-day Beduin of Lower Egypt 
on the other. Like the former they have been "metamorphosed by 
a cross with the negro " and therefore resemble the Barabra in race 3 ; 
but if tradition be any guide they have more Arab blood in their 
veins than the Barabra 4 . 

VI One may say then, in short, that when the Arabs invaded the 

1 Seligman, toe. cit. pp. 603, 604. 

2 hoc. czr ^pp. 606, 607. 

3 GiuffridaT^uggeri, loc. cit. pp. 51-54. 

4 See Part IV (index), and cp. G. A. Hoskins quoted by Cameron {Journ. 
Anthr. Inst. Feb. 1887, " On the Tribes of the Eastern Sudan ")• In one case at least 
a whole section of them have joined a nomad Sudanese Arab tribe, viz. the Kawahla 
in Kordofan, en bloc and to all intents become an integral part of them. (See 
Part III, Chap. 9.) 

I. 3. viii. AND THE NUBA OF MEROE 37 

eastern desert they met in the interior a race of Proto-Egyptian origin 
which was more modified in the north by Negro and Armenoid 
influences than in the south and which was distinctly akin to the 
riverain peoples. It may be added, and further justification will 
appear later for the statement, that if there are not traces of Him- 
yaritic infusion to be found among the more southernly of these 
Bega tribes, it is a very remarkable fact. 

VII Now in the classical period there are frequent allusions to 
a people called the Blemyes on the east bank of the Nile. These 
Blemyes have commonly been assumed to represent the same people 
as the Bega, but hitherto this has remained "a mere theory, at 
present undemonstrated 1 ." 

VIII Claudian 2 (born c. 365 A.D.), Ammianus Marcellinus 3 (c. 320- 
390 a.d.), Sulpicius Severus 4 , Palladius 5 and Olympiodorus 6 refer to 
the Blemyes as close to Syene (Aswan) and the cataracts. 

Olympiodorus actually visited their country between 407 and 
425 a.d.: he specifies Primis (Ibrim, 60 to 70 miles below Haifa) as 
their last city on the Nile; and the inscription of Silko, who warred 
with them in the sixth century, corroborates this 7 . It is also clear 
that they were a race of invaders holding in subjection the older 
Nubian and negro population 8 , and practically dominating the whole 
of the Thebaid 9 . 

The name of Blemyes was, however, also applied to the desert 
nomads, presumably Bega, near the Red Sea, for we read in the Acts 
of the Martyrs of Rai'the 10 of some three hundred Blemyes embarking 
about 378 a.d. on a vessel of Aila which they had taken near the 
Ethiopian coast and sailing along the Red Sea to attack Rai'the. But 
it would not be legitimate to insist for this reason that the nomads of 

1 Crowfoot, "The Island of Meroe," Arch. Surv. Nubia, xix, 35. 

2 Carmen de Nilo, v, 19: 

" Inde vago lapsu Libyam dispersus in omnem 
Aethiopum per mille ruit nigrantia regna, 
Et loca continuo Solis damnata vapore 
Inrorat, populisque salus sitientibus errat, 
Per Meroen, Blemyasque feros, atramque Syenen." 

3 Bk. xiv, Ch. iv, sect. 3. (Also quoted by Quatremere, II {Mem. sur les 
Blemmyes), from Etymologicon Magnum, p. 13.) 

4 Vitae Patrum, p. 542 {ap. Quatremere, loc. cit., and Letronne). 

5 Hist. Lausiac. {ap. Quatremere, loc. cit., and Letronne). 

6 Ap. Photium, Bibliothec. Cod. lxxx, p. 194 {ap. Quatremere, loc. cit.). 

7 See Chap. 1. 

8 H. R. Hall, Review of the Publications of the E. B. Coxe, Jnr. Expedition 
to Nubia, Matt, May 1912. 

9 See Milne, p. 81. 

10 Illustrium Christi Martyrum lecti triumphi, pp. 107-109, quoted by Letronne 
{loc. cit.) and Quatremere, 11, 130 and 133. Rai'the is near Sinai. 

38 THE BEGA, THE BLEMYES 1. 3. vm. 

the eastern desert really bore this name as it was common to mis- 
apply some known name to any unknown folk who appeared similar 1 . 

Eratosthenes 2 , Theocritus 3 , Ptolemaeus 4 ,Procopius 5 and Vopiscus 6 
refer to the Blemyes in terms which would make their main habitat 
round Aswan extend much further southwards and eastwards towards 
the territories of Axum and Adulis, and are clearly referring to the 
country which we know was peopled then as now by Bega 7 . 

The inscriptions of Axum and Adulis, though enumerating the 
peoples between Abyssinia and Egypt who were conquered by the 
king of Axum, make no mention of the Blemyes by name, but speak 
instead of Tangaites and Bogaites (Bega). 

IX One concludes, therefore, with Letronne, that the people who 
called themselves Blemyes lived chiefly in the valley of the Nile 
below Nubia on the confines of Egypt, and the people of the east and 
south-east between the Nile and the Red Sea, to whom the historians 
mentioned vaguely gave the same name, called themselves something 
else. In fact, early Christian writers were very haphazard in their 
nomenclature and used the name Blemyes to represent the Bega 
who seemed to be much the same type of people. 

X The Bega were essentially a nomad folk and the Blemyes 
primarily sedentary and riverain 8 , and there can be little doubt that 
the Blemyes were originally a branch of the Bega who had settled 
on the river and abandoned the nomadic life. 

A similar tendency has been and still is very marked all along the 
Nile valley. It has already been suggested that there was probably 
a similar connection at one time on the western side between the 
riverain Nubians and the nomad Nobatae; and in more modern 
times the forbears of many of the "Arabs" at present settled on 
the river were wont a few generations ago to lead a nomad life inland. 

This is not to deny many cases of a movement in the contrary 

1 Letronne (loc. cit.). 2 Ap. Strabo, p. 786. 

3 Idyll, vii, 114: 

" iv de dipei TrvfiaTouri Trap AidibireacL vofj-euois 
irirpQ vtto TSXe/jiuuv, 66ev ovk^tl NeiXos Sparos." 

Theocritus was born 290 B.C. and died very old. 

4 Bk. iv, Ch. vm. He follows Eratosthenes. His date is about 500-565 a.d. 

8 De Bella Persico, 1, 19, p. 59. He places them east of the Nile between Axum 
and Elephantine (Aswan). 

6 In Hist. Augnstae Scriptores, pp. 220 and 239, quoted by Quatremere, loc. 
cit., and Letronne, loc. cit. 

7 Letronne, loc. cit. 

8 Woolley and M c Iver have shown that the old ruin called Karan6g near Ibrim 
was the castle of a Blemyan chief. See Karandg: the Cemetery (1910) and Karandg : 
the Tozvn (191 1) in the Publications of the E. B. Coxe, Jnr. Expedition to Nubia, 
Univ. Museum, Philadelphia (reviewed by H. R. Hall in Man, May 1912). 


direction : the two tendencies may even be at work contemporaneously, 
and the movement is definitely directed one way or the other at any 
particular period by the political conditions of the moment. 

XI Whenever mention is made of Bega or Blemyes by classical 
or mediaeval historians it is, I believe, always in connection with the 
eastern bank of the river and the eastern deserts. There is hardly a sug- 
gestion that there were also Bega or Blemyes to the west of the river. 
A passage in Pomponius Mela would naturally be taken, as 
Quatremere 1 and Letronne apparently do take it, to mean that the 
Blemyes, or rather some of them, were west of the Nile: he says: 

Above those parts which are washed by the Libyan sea are the Egyptian 
Libyans and the Leucoaethiopes and the large nation of the Getuli with 
its numerous branches. Beyond these is a vast empty region, uninhabitable 
throughout its length. Beyond it again [are other races]. Beginning from 
the east these are first the Garamantae, then the Augilae and the Troglo- 
dytae, and lastly and furthest west the Atlantes. Further inland are people 
who, if one may believe it, are scarcely human, but rather half-wild-beasts, 
the Aegipanes and Blemmyae and Gamphafantes and Satyri, who wander 
about without any settled habitation and may be said rather to occupy 
than to dwell in the country 2 . 

But this passage does not necessarily bear the interpretation that 
the Blemyes were west of the Nile, and if it did need not be accepted 
as strictlv accurate, for as we have seen there is the evidence of a 
perfect host of writers to the contrary. If Mela thought that the 
bulk of the Blemyes were west of the Nile he was certainly wrong : 
if he did not the passage has no value as evidence that they were 
there. Strabo, who ascended the Nile with Aelius Gallus in 24 B.C., 
quotes Eratosthenes to the following effect 3 : 

Lower down, on either side of Meroe, along the Nile [and] towards 
the Red Sea, are Megabari and Blemyes, subject to the Ethiopians and 

1 11, 128. "Pomponius Mela...les place dans l'interieur de l'Afrique au dela 
les Garamantes." 

2 " Super ea quae Libyco mari abluuntur Libyes Aegyptii sunt, et Leuco- 
aethiopes et natio frequens multiplexque Getuli. Deinde late vacat regio perpetuo 
tractu inhabitabilis. Turn primos ab oriente Garamantas, post Augilas et Troglo- 
dytas et ultimos ad occasum Atlantas audimus. Intra (si credere libet) vix iam 
homines magisque semiferi Aegipanes et Blemmyae et Gamphasantes et Satyri 
sine tectis passim ac sedibus vagi habent potius terras quam habitent." (Pomp. 
Mela, de Situ Orbis, Ch. iv.) 

3 to. 8t Karwrepw eKartpudev MepoTjs, irapa /J.iv to" XetXoc irpbs tt)v ''Eipvdpav 2iley&f3apot 
Kal BX^/xues, Aidioiruv VTraKovvres AiyvTrriois 5' o/J.opoi...e$ apurrepQit 5t...8cc. (Strabo, 

XVII, I, 53)- 

Budge (II, 174) says of the "tribes of the Eastern Desert" about the third century 
"it is said that these tribes had settlements even in the oasis of Kharga," but no 
authority for the statement is quoted. Makrizi (Khetdt, 561-57 1 ) quotes a very 
full description of the Bega from Ibn Selim, who lived in the tenth century, but 
there is no hint in it of any Bega west of the Nile. 

4 o THE BEGA, THE BLEMYES i. 3. xi. 

neighbours of the Egyptians... but on the left side of the course of the Nile 
live the Noubai..." (etc., as quoted in Chap. 2). 

XII Having once settled on the river the Blemyes were strongly 
influenced by the contemporary Ethiopian civilization of Meroe. 

"It is certain," says Crowfoot, "that in the fifth century or earlier 
Kinglets of the Blemyes used the Greek tongue and aped much of the 
complicated ceremonial of a Byzantine court... by virtue of a common script 
and mutual indebtedness to Egypt they stand in close relation with the 
rulers of Meroe 1 ." 

XIII The account given by Olympiodorus at the beginning of the 
fifth century, the terms of the peace recorded by Priscus as made a 
few years later between them and the Romans, and the inscription 
of Talmis in the following century prove that they were still pagans 
about the middle of the sixth century. Apparently they worshipped 
Isis at Philae previous to their conversion 2 . But Procopius, writing 
about the middle of the same century, and mentioning this, also adds 
that they used to sacrifice men to the Sun 3 , and it is almost certain 
that, as a matter of fact, their chief religious place was at Talmis 
where the temple is known to have been sacred to the Sun worshipped 
under the name of Mandoulis, and that for that reason Talmis was 
chosen by the invading Silko as the site for his inscription 4 . 

The Blemyes may have been converted to Christianity as a result 
of Silko's expedition, or perhaps he or his successors so crushed them 
that they ceased to exist as a separate race. In any case, when the 
Muhammadans, less than a century later, invaded the country south 
of Aswan we hear nothing of "Blemyes," and the population was 
simply "Nuba" and Christian 5 . 

XIV An even more difficult problem is presented by the country 
which lay a little further south. As already mentioned the capital 
of the Libyo-Ntibian kings who conquered Egypt in the eighth 
and seventh centuries B.C. and of their immediate successors was at 

1 Arch. Surv. Nub. xix, 35, 36. Cp. Hall (Man, May 1912); he says: "If the 
people of Karanog were Blemmyes the Blemmyes spoke and wrote in Meroitic." 

2 We have seen (Chap. 2) that the statement of Eusebius to the effect that as 
early as the reign of Constantine Christianity had penetrated to the Ethiopians and 
Blemyes refers to the people of Abyssinia and the Troglodytic whom Frumentius 
converted, and not to the riverain Blemyes with whom Silko fought. 

3 De Bello Persico, 1, 60 of edn 1662, quoted by Quatremere (11, 133). 

* Letronne, loc. cit. There were also at Meroe temples sacred to Isis and to the 
Sun respectively, dating from the sixth or seventh century B.C. (see p. 9 above). 

5 It may be noted here that Herodotus divided the Ethiopian race into Eastern 
Ethiopians with straight hair, that is the Bega and suchlike, and Western Ethiopians 
("they of Libya") with curly hair, that is the negroids, each group speaking a 
different language. (Bk. vn, 70. The context is the composition of the army of 
Xerxes. 1 * 

I. 3. xvi. AND THE NUBA OF MEROE 41 

Napata, but probably by 440 B.C. the political headquarters had 
been shifted to Meroe, about two hundred miles away to the south- 
east near the junction of the Atbara with the Nile, the religious 
capital remaining, as before, at Napata. 

The original substratum of population in the country round 
Meroe, or at least to the south and east of it, may have consisted of 
that same red-brown race which is held once to have occupied the 
banks of the Nile, the south-western littoral of Asia and the Red Sea 
coast 1 ; but by the first millennium B.C., if not long before, this race 
must have become submerged in the negro hordes which had surged 
up from the south and acquired predominance in the Nile valley. 

XV The earliest extant remains at Meroe prove that, though the 
population was predominantly negro in the fourth and fifth century 
B.C., Egyptian motives in art and manners were still predominant, 
and that they continued so until about the third century B.C. The 
account of Meroe given by Herodotus 2 (c. 450 B.C.) is evidence lead- 
ing to the same conclusion ; but before we deal with this and with the 
scraps of information left us by later Greek and Roman geographers 
a digression is necessary to point out that there was apparently another 
cultural influence at work besides that of Egypt. 

XVI We have already had occasion to note the continued con- 
nection between Abyssinia, the Nile valley and the Yemen of 
Arabia, which probably began at least four or five thousand years 
before the Christian era and became intimate in the second and first 
millennia B.C. 3 The temples of Meroe, the Sun Temple, the Lion 
Temple, and the original Temple of Isis, all of which belong to the 
"Early Meroitic" period, and the sitting stone lions of Basa, Naka, 
el Musowwarat, Um Soda and Soba are certainly connected with 
the Sun Temple of Talmis 4 , the two lions before the great pylon of 
the temple of Isis at Philae, and, one supposes, with those sitting 
"dogs" which Bruce saw in Abyssinia and which Heeren and 
Crowfoot unite in thinking were lions of the same type as those at 
Basa and the other places mentioned 5 . 

"In Abyssinia," Bent considers 6 , " Christianity must have succeeded a 
form of Sabaean sun-worship; the monoliths and altars all point to this; 
and in the ritual of their church we can still clearly see traces of this cult. 
The nightly services which end at sunrise, the circular churches with four 

1 Elliot Smith, Ancient Egyptians, pp. 61, 79. 

2 Bk. 11, 29. 3 See Chap. 1. 

4 Sun worship was, of course, prevalent in ancient Egypt from the time of the 
Old Kingdom: see Breasted, Hist. pp. 59, 62, etc. 

5 Crowfoot, loc. cit. p. 23. Stone lions of this type are rare in Egypt. 
The Sacred City..., p. 83, and cp. ibid. pp. 138-197 and 231-293. 

42 THE BEGA, THE BLEMYES 1. 3. xvi. 

doors orientated to the four points of the compass, the sacred groves 
surrounding the churches, and the dancing of the priests — all recall what 
we know of Baal worship, which was closely akin to the sun-worship of 
Southern Arabia." 

He remarks in this connection on the suggestiveness of Herodotus's 
statement 1 that "Ethiopia borders on the Southern Sea and the 
table of the Sun in Ethiopia is a meadow on the skirts of their town 
full of the boiled flesh of all manner of beasts." The ancient Abys- 
sinian capital of this Sabaean or Himyaritic colonization was Ava 
(Yeha), where there are monoliths, "a mass of Himyaritic inscrip- 
tions," and a sun-temple. Its founders (the "Avalitae"?) are sup- 
posed to have been traders in the first instance, but as they increased 
in numbers and strength and were reinforced by their kin from over 
the Red Sea they succeeded in imposing their language, their religious 
rites, and to some extent their racial type, upon northern Abyssinia. 
Its name of Ava is presumably connected with the Sabaean worship 
of Baal- Ava. The capital was subsequently removed to Axum, also 
a Himyarite foundation with monoliths and "a highly perfected form 
of stone worship associated with sacrifices to the Sun." 

Resemblances between the later Meroitic architecture of elMusow- 
warat, etc., dating from about the third century a.d., and the roughly 
contemporaneous architecture of Axum shew that the links of con- 
nection between the main valley of the Nile and Abyssinia held fast 
in the generations that followed. Crowfoot notes in particular "the 
exact resemblance of the plan of the upper storey in the old Dongola 
church with the plan of Enda Giorgis near Adowa 2 ." 

XVII Bearing these facts in mind, we may now revert to the 
descriptions of Meroe left by the classical geographers. 

In the time of Herodotus the inhabitants of Meroe itself wor- 
shipped Jupiter {i.e. Amen-Ra) and Bacchus {i.e. Osiris) 3 . 

The Ethiopian tribes in the vicinity, however, practised circum- 
cision, wore skins, used palm-branch bows, stone-headed arrows, 
spears tipped with horn and clubs of wood, and painted their bodies 
before going into battle 4 . 

As far south from Meroe as Meroe was south of Aswan lay the 
country in which had settled the "Automoloi" or "Asmach" 

1 Q.v. Bk. in, §7. 

2 hoc. cit. p. 40, but Crowfoot is inclined in the case of el Musowwarat and 
Axum to regard the Axumites as the borrowers. 

3 Herodotus, II, 29, 144, 156. 

4 Herodotus, vn, 69 (speaking of Xerxes's army). He does not specifically 
mention that they lived round Meroe but speaks merely of the "region above 



('Aa/xax), the descendants of the "240,000" mercenaries 1 who, 
having been sent by Psammetichus I (663-609 B.C.) to garrison 
Upper Egypt against the Ethiopians, deserted to the south and were 
granted lands there by the ruler of Ethiopia 2 . Of these Automoloi 
Herodotus says: "their acquaintance with Egyptian manners has 
tended to civilize the Ethiopians." 

XVIII Eratosthenes in the third century B.C. also speaks of the 
Automoloi, or "Sembritae" as he calls them, and says that their 
sovereign was a queen but they recognized the overlordship of Meroe 3 . 

XIX Artemidorus, more than a hundred years later 4 , tells of a dis- 
trict, probably the country between the present sites of Kassala and 
Kallabat, inhabited by the Sembritae, and describes them as ruled 
by a queen "to whom Meroe also is subject," a statement which, if 
true, implies a revolution between the third and the first century B.C. 
and the overthrow by the southern colonists of the suzerain power 
at Meroe 5 . Conceivably the drastic measures of Ergamenes had not 
been well received by the people and had proved the cause of the 
downfall of his house. 

XX Now Ptolemy I came to the throne of Egypt in 323 and his 
accession introduced a period of prosperity there. Some portion of 
this was reflected in Meroe and Hellenistic ideas began to pervade 
that capital and to supplant the older Egyptian influences. This 
tendency is apparent in various objets cCart that have been unearthed 
and in the altered style of architecture. Direct evidence of it is also 
provided by Diodorus in his story of Ergamenes. 

Diodorus 6 , writing in the time of Julius Caesar and Augustus, 
speaks of the Ethiopians of Meroe as the earliest of mankind and 
indigenous to the country, and he mentions the Ethiopian custom 
whereby the king at Meroe used to be ordered by the priests to 
commit suicide when they became tired of him 7 . This custom, he 
states, continued until the time of the enlightened Ergamenes, Arq 
Amen, that is 8 , who was a contemporary of Ptolemy II (284-247 B.C.) 

1 They are generally called Egyptians: Maspero thought they were Libyans 
(Budge, 11, 55). 2 Herodotus, II, 30. 

3 Ap. Strabo, p. 786. 4 Artemidorus wrote about 100 B.C. 

6 Cp. Crowfoot, Island of Meroe, p. 33. It is conceivable, though purely hypo- 
thetical, that it was these southern colonists who transplanted to Meroe the matri- 
archal system which gave to Ethiopia the line of Candaces. The matrilinear system 
was certainly earlier, as is proved, e.g. by the stele of Aspelut (q.v. Budge, II, 65), 
and " mother kin very rarely carries with it ' matriarchy ' or the power of the female " 
(Farnell, in Quarterly Review, April 1915, p. 482). 

6 He depends for his facts to a large extent on Agatharcides and Artemidorus. 

7 Diodorus, ed. Wesselingius, Bk. in, 177. 

8 See Budge, II, 109, 112, 115. Apparently Ergamenes survived the second 
third and fourth Ptolemies also. The last died in 205 B.C. 


and had received a Greek education 1 . Ergamenes declined to acknow- 
ledge the authority of the priests and put them to death. 

Strabo 2 gives a similar account of Meroe, based largely on 

To these and the rest of the Greek and Roman geographists the 
Ethiopians who lived not in Meroe itself but in the surrounding 
country were no more than wild savages, "wretched Kush," as the 
Pharaohs would have called them. 

XXI Soon after the beginning of the Christian era began the great 
days of Meroe which are associated with the Queens Candace. The 
first of these who is a historical personage and not purely mythical 3 
appears to have ruled from Napata 4 . She was powerful enough to 
capture Syene (Aswan) with its Roman garrison of three cohorts in 
24 B.C.; but in the following year Petronius defeated her and Napata 
was destroyed 5 . 

About 60 a. d. Nero's centurions, sent to explore the Nile, found 
another Candace reigning at Meroe 6 . They reported, too, that the 
kings of Ethiopia were forty-five in number, and that the country 
between Meroe and Aswan was mostly deserted, little trace remain- 
ing of all the towns and the thriving civilization mentioned by the 
earlier geographers. In fact, a period of decadence in Egypt syn- 
chronized with a state of comparative desolation in Ethiopia, a further 
proof of the dependence of the southern state upon its great northern 
neighbour 7 . 

XXII Meroe did not, however, cease to be a place of importance. 
The state of its fortunes still continued to reflect those of Egypt, and 

1 /j.eTa<rxv K us 'EWyviKr/s aywyris ko.1 <f>i\o<ro<p*q<Ta.s. Mahaffy (p. 140) makes Erga- 
menes a contemporary of the fourth Ptolemy (222-205). 

2 Born between 64 and 54 B.C. Died after 21 A.D. 

3 See Pseudo-Callisthenes, ap. Budge, 11, 108, in re Alexander the Great. 

4 Crowfoot, loc. cit. p. 33, citing Strabo, p. 820. 

6 Petronius chose Primis (Ibrfm) to be the Roman boundary, but within a year 
it was abandoned in favour of Hierosykaminos (Muharraka), the old Ptolemaic 
frontier town. The frontier remained at Hierosykaminos until Diocletian retired 
the legions to Aswan. 

6 Pliny, Hist. Nat. vi, Ch. 35. Griffith {Arch. Surv. Nubia, xrx, 80) surmises 
that " possibly this dynasty of Candaces is identical with the Natakamani-Amanitere 
series of royalties" whose remains are found at Meroe and Naka. There are no 
records in history of any Candace living after the first century A.D. and from the 
pictorial evidence of the monuments it seems that kings ruled in the second, third 
and fourth centuries (see Crowfoot, loc. cit. p. 39). In the note to para, l of D 7 
is given a quotation from Bruce which, if the facts are authentic, shews that in 1619 
there was a modern Candace ruling at Mundara in the Isle of Meroe and deriving 
her income from the great trade-route between east and west as her prototype no 
doubt did. 

7 Crowfoot, loc. cit. p. 36. Pliny says {loc. cit.) that warfare with Egypt was 
responsible for the desolation of Ethiopia, but, as Crowfoot says, there is no 
warrant in history for this. 

1. 3. xxiv. AND THE NUBA OF MEROE 45 

in the first part of the fourth century, the period of the Flavian and 
Antonine Emperors, a revival of trade occurred in both countries. 
The buildings erected at this period at Basa, el Musowwarat and 
Naka (the Graeco-Roman temple), all probably the work of a single 
dynasty, represent, in Crowfoot's words, "a bye-product of the 
imperial prosperity, directly due to the overflow of Romano-Egyptian 
energy and wealth beyond the imperial boundaries 1 ." 

XXIII Thus we are left with a general impression of the outlying 
districts of the Island of Meroe as peopled during the centuries 
immediately preceding and following the Christian era by half- 
nomadic half-sedentary indigenous savages living by the chase and 
sparse cultivation of the soil. To the south was the colony founded 
by the Automoloi.or Sembritae, who were probably of Egyptian, but 
possibly of Libyan origin. To the north lay the comparatively highly 
civilized town of Meroe shewing both a successive predominance of 
Egyptian, Greek and Roman influences and also a certain measure 
of indebtedness to the Himyarites of southern Arabia. 

There seems to be little evidence to date that the ruler of Meroe 
exercised at any period a permanent control inland and southwards 
further afield than Gebel Kayli and Gebel Moya 2 . 

XXIV Meroe, standing at the meeting of several great trade routes, 
owed most of its fame and prosperity to the popularity and acces- 
sibility of its markets. North and south were the riverways, west- 
wards the road to Napata, eastwards the great caravan route which 
crosses the Atbara and runs to the Red Sea ports, and southwards 
the wddi routes which tap the cornlands and grazing areas of the 
Hawad and Abu Delayk. 

Meroe thus formed an excellent site for an emporium where 
slaves, ivory and gold might be obtained by exchange 3 . 

1 Crowfoot, loc. cit. pp. 37-39. 

2 There is a rock at Kayli with a carving representing an Ethiopian king 
wearing the uraeus, and a Sun God (see Crowfoot, loc. cit. p. 25) ; and in a cave 
close by I found in 191 2 a drawing which Mr Griffith thinks represents the lion- 
headed Arsenuphis or Apizemak. Upon the rock with the carving are heaped a 
number of stones. This may illustrate the Arab practice whereby, it is said, the 
passer-by signifies his detestation of something abominable (see Jaussen, p. 336), 
or may be connected with the ancient beliefs exemplified in a similar way in northern 
Dartur (see App. 5 to Part I, Ch. 4). 

From the Nastasenen stela (298-278 B.C.) it appears that that monarch may have 
invaded Kordofan, and "operations at this distance from Meroe would imply that 
the Gezira or a large part of it was permanently occupied by the Ethiopians." 
(Reisner in Sudan Notes and Records, Jan. 1919, pp. 65, 66.) 

3 So Crowfoot, loc. cit. p. 7. He continues, however, in agreement with Lepsius 
(Discoveries..., p. 163), "but the true basis of their prosperity was agricultural and 
pastoral," and this, I think, is something of an overstatement. In a year of good 
rains the wddis produce a fair crop of millet, but even if one allow that the rainfall 

46 THE BEGA, THE BLEMYES 1. 3. xxv. 

XXV But about 340-350 A.D., as we learn from one of the Axumite 
inscriptions 1 , an expedition was made by Aeizanes or Aizana, the 
powerful king of Axum, against the ruler of the Nuba in the Island 
of Meroe on account of his aggressions on the frontier : 

2 I took the field against him, and arose in the strength of the Lord of 
the World, and I smote them at the Takaze 3 beyond Kamalke. And then 
when they withdrew themselves to a distance, then followed I [during] 
three and twenty days, during which I smote him, and took from him 
prisoners and booty, and took away from where the prisoners dwelt, booty, 
and during which my people returned who had gone to the war, and 
during which I burnt their towns of mason work and of straw, and they 
plundered his crops and his iron and his ore and his copper, and destroyed 
the pictures (or statues) in his temple, and the provisions of heaped up 
corn, and threw them into the river Seda 4 .... There were of leaders who 
perished five, and one priest, and I reached to the Kasu and smote them 
and annihilated them at the confluence of the rivers Seda and Takaze. 
And the day after I had arrived I sent out a marauding party... and they 
laid waste up the Seda the towns of masonwork and of straw 5 ... and came 

was rather heavier 2000 years ago, there would still have been no great surplus. 
Again, as regards pastoral wealth, the steppes of the Island of Meroe could have 
supported large herds for most of the year, as they do to-day, but the savagery 
of the roaming tribes must have made it impossible for flocks from Meroe to be 
driven for grazing as far afield as they are now, and though " hafirs" were dug to 
preserve the rain-water supply as long as possible the grass supply would have 
failed if large flocks were concentrated all the year on a limited area. See also 
Reisner in Sudan Notes and Records, Jan. 1919, pp. 50 ff. 

1 I follow Bent, pp. 263 et seq. where Dr D. H. Midler's translation and notes 
are given. The translation followed by Crowfoot (loc. cit. pp. 36-38) is that of 
Littman and Krencker (1906) and differs in several particulars. For instance, 
Crowfoot says the expedition was against the Nuba "who had recently conquered 
the Island of Meroe. It seems that a wave of Negro aggression had lately surged 
up from the south and overwhelmed the ' Red ' races on the Island and even north 
of it. The Blacks had captured towns of masonry belonging to the Kasu, occupied 
them and built towns of grass huts near them, such as the negroes still use; they 
had harried their neighbours without a cause, and three times they had broken 
their word and insulted the envoys of the King of Kings, confident that he would 
never cross the Atbara. The King recounts how in revenge he had sacked both 
towns of masonry and towns of grass huts, and sent expeditions up and down the 

Nile from the point of its junction with the Atbara " Muller's translation gives 

no warrant for any recent conquest of the Kasu by newly immigrant Nuba. 

2 The following quotation omits several unimportant lines of the original as given 
by Bent. 

3 I.e. the Atbara. 

4 I.e. the Nile. 

6 Of the towns of masonwork 'Aloa (i.e. Soba) is mentioned. The first mention 
of 'Aloa, I believe, is in the stele of Nastasenen, who, according to Reisner's 
calculation, ruled from 298 to 278 B.C.: "Amen of Napata...came forth from the 
Great House, and he made me to be King over Ta-Kenset and Alut and the Nine 
Tribes who fight with bows and the country on both sides of the river and the 
Four Quarters of the World" (Budge, II, 98). See Para, xxvin. 

Crowfoot thinks that by 'Aloa in the inscription of Aeizanes is possibly meant 
Meroe (see following note) ; but whenever 'Aloa is mentioned in any context that 
defines the locality the region round Soba is always clearly intended. The name 

1. 3. xxvii. AND THE NUBA OF MEROE 47 

in good condition back... and thereupon I sent the troop Halen and the 
troop Dakan and the troop Sabarat, and they plundered and laid waste 
down the Seda the Nuba towns of straw (houses) four, Naguso 1 . Towns 
of masonry of the Kasu and Noba, Naszato 1. D. v-r tali 1, and reached 
as far as the district of the red Noba, and in good condition returned my 
people back.... And I set up my throne within the confluence of the river 
Seda and Takaze, in sight of the town of masonry 1 ... the island, which the 
Lord of heaven has given me... and I set up my throne here at the Seda 
through the strength of the Lord of heaven.... 

XXVI Here we have three distinct races mentioned : firstly, the Nuba 
in the Island of Meroe, as far east as the Atbara, secondly, the Kasu 
to the north-west near the junction of the Nile and the Atbara, and, 
thirdly, the "Red Nuba" some distance further downstream. 

Immediately downstream of the junction of the rivers the Kasu 
and the Nuba would seem to have been dwelling side by side. It is 
hard to avoid hazarding an opinion that the "Red Nuba" may have 
been southernly colonies of Blemyes. As regards the difference 
between the "Kasu" and the "Nuba" of the inscription much 
obviously depends on whether the interpretation of Miiller or of 
Littman and Krencker is correct; but in either case the "Kasu" 
would appear to be the more civilized and Egyptianized Meroitic 
type and the " Nuba " the negro tribes of the out-districts. The matter 
must simply remain doubtful. 

It is at least clear that by the middle of the fourth century a.d. 
Meroe had fallen on evil days and a process of disintegration had 
set in. From now onwards we know nothing to speak of about the 
history of the people living south of the confluence of the Nile and 
the Atbara until the time of el Mas'udi and Ibn Selim el Aswani 
who wrote their descriptions of Nubia in the tenth century. 

XXVII At what date the Meroitic peoples became Christian we do 
not know. Abyssinia was converted about 330 a.d. and northern 
Nubia about two centuries later ; but the severance of friendly rela- 
tions between the two countries which occurred in the middle of the 
fourth century militated henceforth against the spread of the religious 
beliefs of the one to the other, and so much so that when Christianity 

of 'Aloa, be it noted, is also applied, both in the Axumite inscription and later 
by Abu Salih, to the town (Soba) as well as to the district. The name seems to 
survive in the dual form of " 'Alwan," the name of a district inland from Soba. 

1 From "Takaze" to "heaven has" forms line 40 of the inscription. 

Crowfoot remarks that it is curious that there is no mention of Meroe itself 
in the inscription, although we know that it was still the largest town in the district. 
But in line 40 there is a gap after the words "the town of masonry" which might 
surely have contained the name if the words translated "within the confluence of" 
can be applied to a site which is in the angle of the two rivers though fifty miles 
away from the actual junction. 

48 THE BEGA, THE BLEMYES ls.xxvii. 

was finally established in Nubia in the sixth century it was by way 
of Egypt that it came. 

XXVIII In all probability it was about the end of the same century, 
or early in the seventh, that the faith was received by 'Aloa. 

The town of Soba, or 'Aloa, had been a place of importance even 
in Meroitic days, for a temple there dates from that period 1 ; and 
though "Alut" on the stele of Nastasenen refers no doubt to the 
district, it is natural to suppose that its capital was the town subse- 
quently famous by the same name. 

When 'Aloa was converted pagan temples were turned into or 
replaced by churches. With Christianity and the importation of 
liturgies and holy books came also a more general use of Greek 
writing for purposes of religion and ceremonial 2 , and a line of com- 
munication was opened for the future between Alexandria and the 
villages of the Blue Nile 3 . At the present day there are still visible 
some traces of an ancient civilization even beyond Soba, such as the 
old red-brick buildings, probably remains of churches, near Elti, 
Kutrang, Kasemba, Bronko and Hassa Haysa 4 . Their date is not 
known, but they appear to belong to the same period as the Christian 
remains found at Soba. 

XXIX Further north, as the power of Meroe declined the allegiance 
of the petty meks who had once owned its overlordship began to 
be drawn to the one side by the magnet of Abyssinia or to the other 
by that of the rival Nubian kingdom which centred upon Dongola. 
Whenever we catch a glimpse of these two powers, as, for instance, 

1 Budge, II, 304. The name "S6ba" suggests "Astasobas," the name by which 
Strabo denotes the Blue Nile. 

2 The same probably does not apply to Abyssinia, where the use of Greek 
writing was chiefly due to trade influences (see Letronne, loc. cit.). 

3 'Aloa, or S6ba, is mentioned (" 'Aloa") in the treaty of 652 a.d. between the 
Arabs and the Nubians (see Part II, Chap. 2, v), and by the tenth century it was the 
most important town in the Sudan south of Dongola (see Ibn Selim's account in 
Part II, Chap. 2). It remained so for some two or three hundred years and, though 
with the fall of the Christian kingdom of Dongola and the invasion of the Arabs 
its importance no doubt diminished, it apparently revived somewhat at a still later 
date, for at the beginning of the sixteenth century it was the capital of the 'Anag 
or Nuba whom the Fung dispossessed (see D 7, 1, in Part IV). 

* Cp. Crowfoot, loc. cit. p. 8 ; and see note to MS. D 7, 1. Alvarez mentions these 
churches. It is stated locally that the ancient name of Elti was Anti. Anti and Rudis 
are said to have been sister and brother, 'Anag by race, who settled one (Rudis) on 
the east bank on the present site of Bashakira East (or Rodos, Cailliand's Rodess, 
11, 210), and the other (Anti) on the west bank. 

Ibn Selfm and el Mas'iidi, it is true, speak of the tribes south of Soba in much 
the same terms as do the classical geographers, and call them worshippers of the 
moon, stars, fire, trees and animals, "blacks naked like the Zing," but they clearly 
refer to the tribes living inland, away from the river, or else to those who dwelt 
considerably farther upstream. 



in the seventh and eighth centuries 1 , they appear to be bickering 
and the lesser princelets who were wedged between the two, probably 
succeeded in maintaining some measure of local independence, what- 
ever nominal allegiance they may have professed. 

XXX It is indeed difficult without further scientific data to get 
any but a vague impression as to the race to which the various occu- 
pants of the country round Meroe belonged in the period immediately 
preceding its conquest by the Arabs. Four distinct races at least met 
thereabouts. Inland to the north and east were the Bega : to the north- 
west were the Nuba tribes; to the south-east was Abyssinia: to the 
south along the White Nile and the Sobat were the people of whom 
the modern representatives are the Shilluk. 

XXXI As regards these latter, as has been mentioned 2 , they display 
Bantu affinities, and probably they moved into the country south of 
the Sobat and the upper reaches of the White Nile during or rather 
later than the second millennium B.C. They did not extend their 
occupation to the lower White Nile, to the vicinity of Kawa and 
Dueim, until the beginning of the sixteenth century a.d., the period, 
that is, of the rise of the Fung kingdom 3 . 

Bruce was told in Sennar in the eighteenth century that these 
Fung were descended from the Shilluk, and Westermann has lately 
adduced proofs of the correctness of the tradition. To what extent, 
if any, the Nilotic negroes modified the racial composition of the 

1 In 687 the Patriarch of Alexandria sent a message exhorting the kings of 
Nubia and Ethiopia (Abyssinia that is) to concord (Renandot, Hist. Patr. Alex. 
178, ap. Letronne). 

In 737 A.D. the Patriarch writes to Cyriacus "King of Nubia" to cease raiding 
Upper Egypt, and the biographer speaks of the king's power as extending over 
thirteen other kings {ap. Le Quien in Orient. Christian., II, 662, for which see 
Letronne). But as a matter of fact there is a continual confusion in the ideas of 
the early Christian writers between Nubia and Abyssinia, and even in some cases 
between Abyssinia and India, and "Nubia" should probably read "Abyssinia" 
in this passage. The subject of this confusion will be further dealt with later, but 
one may quote a note by A. J. Butler to a remark by Abu Salih (p. 285): "Our 
author here seems to look upon South-west Arabia as identical with or forming 
part of Abyssinia or Ethiopia, an error akin to the confusion of Abyssinia with 
India which appears lower down." 

In the thirteenth century we shall see that the Sultan of Egypt in addition to 
sending an embassy to the king of Dongola had to approach ten separate meks to 
the south (see Part II, Chap. 2). 

2 P. 16. 

3 Westermann, lii ff. In 1842 they inhabited the islands as far north as the 
fourteenth degree of latitude (Deherain, Fig. vn, opp. p. 262). Cp. Schweinfurth, 
I, 9-10: "On the 13th of January, on one of the thronging islands, we had our 
first rencontre with the Shillooks. This tribe of negroes formerly extended them- 
selves much further north than at present, having settlements on all the islands ; 
but now [1869] they only exceptionally penetrate to this latitude (12 30') in their 

canoes In a few days we lay-to alongside the village of Kaka, the most northernly 

place inhabited by Shillooks on the White Nile." 

M.S.I. 4 

50 THE BEGA, THE BLEMYES 1. 3. xxxi. 

inhabitants of the Island of Meroe is unknown, but some indication 
of connection is perhaps furnished by the existence in Meroe until 
the third century B.C. of the custom of killing the king when he was 
considered to be no longer sufficiently vigorous to rule. This con- 
stitutes presumably one more example of the ancient belief in kings 
"believed to incarnate the divine spirit... who were periodically killed 
lest that spirit should suffer from its retention in an ageing body 1 ." 
If so, it is probably to be connected on the one hand with the "sed" 
festival of ancient Egypt, which is thought to have originally celebrated 
the Osirification of the king through death, and certainly, on the other 
hand, with the still-existing custom according to which the Nilotic 
Shilluk and Dinka put their kings to death before their bodily 
vigour passes away 2 . 

Traces of the same custom existed among the Fung of Sennar, 
at whose court there was a personage who combined the functions 
of Master of the Household and Executioner of the Kings; and, it 
seems, among the 'Abdullab of Kerri 3 . Of the former Bruce says 4 : 

It is one of the singularities which obtains among this brutish people 
that the king ascends his throne under an admission that he may be law- 
fully put to death by his own subjects or slaves upon a council being held 
by the great officers, if they decree that it is not for the advantage of the 
state that he be suffered to reign any longer. There is one officer of his 
own family who alone can be the instrument of shedding his sovereign 
and kinsman's blood. This officer is called Sid el Coom, master of the 
king's household or servants, but has no vote in deposing him ; nor is any 
guilt imputed to him however many of his sovereigns he thus regularly 

XXXII But until the beginning of the sixteenth century the Nilotic 
negroes do not appear either racially or culturally to have exercised 
any influence in the Island of Meroe comparable to that of the other 
three groups mentioned. Of these the most important was probably 
the Nuba. The ancient inhabitants of Soba, the Island of Meroe and 
the hills of northern Kordofan are still commonly spoken of as 

1 Seligman, Journ. Anthr. Inst, xliii, 1913, p. 664. The locus classicus of the 
subject is Frazer, The Golden Bough, Part III. Cp. also Man, Feb. 1915, "Killing 
the Divine King," by Geza Roheim, for some Ural-Altaic instances of the custom. 

2 Seligman, loc.cit. pp. 665, 666 ; and see, in particular, Miss Murray's " Evidence 
for the Custom of Killing the King in Ancient Egypt," in Man, Feb. 1914. For the 
custom in Fazoghli see Lepsius, Discoveries..., p. 221. 

3 See "D 5 (a)" in Part IV. 

4 Bruce, Bk. vn, Ch. ix. For another ancient Egyptian custom which survived 
among the Fung, that of the king personally hoeing a piece of land, see Part I, 
Chap. 4, xxvi. The connection between the two lies in the typically Hamitic con- 
ception of the king as a rainmaker and the medium whereby the yearly renascence 
of vegetation is ensured. Cp. Seligman, loc. cit. pp. 681, 683. 

1. 3. xxxii. AND THE NUBA OF MERGE S i 

'"Anag," and this term, it will be seen, is used in the native MSS. 
as practically synonymous with "Nuba," though originally it seems 
to have denoted one particular branch of Nuba who had become 

The Nuba strain was the most potent racial element in the Island 
of Meroe from the days of the dynastic Egyptians until the coming 
of the Muhammadans, though one would of course concede very 
considerable local modifications due to admixture with the Bega, the 
people of Abyssinia and, to some slight extent in the south, with the 
Nilotic negroes. 





The non-Arab Races of Darfur 

I The consideration of the races who inhabited Darfur 1 before the 
Arabs is, on the one hand, rendered more difficult by the lack of 
modern scientific research, and, on the other, made more easy by 
the fact that the Arabs have coalesced so slightly with the older popu- 
lation that it is still easy to pick out the non-Arab elements. Several 
intrepid and accomplished travellers have visited the country and 
brought back valuable information, but anthropology had not in 
their days made such giant strides as now, and their statements are 
not always backed by scientific data of the type available for Egypt 
and Lower Nubia. It is the researches of Barth and Nachtigal and 
the acute observations of el Tunisi that have cast most light on the 
pre-Arab element in Darfur. 

II BedayAt. The northern portion of Darfur is contained in that 
vast unfertile northernly portion of Africa which is set aside by nature 
for those who lead a pastoral life. Scattered in insignificant numbers 
as far south as Kebkebia and Kuttum, but chiefly roaming further 
north in the Ennedi district outside Darfur are the Bedayat, a wild 
and entirely nomadic race related to the Zaghawa. Their geo- 
graphical position between the Kura'an (to the north) and the 
Zaghawa (to the south) roughly represents also their ethnographical 
status. Barth 2 calls them "Terauye" and says the Arabs call them 
"A'uwa." The Arabs of Kordofan and Darfur speak always of 
"Bedayat," and "A'uwa" seems to be the Kura'an name for them 
and "Terauye" or "Terawa" a name applied to them by the Arabs 
of Borku 3 . Lieut. Ferrandi divides the Bedayat into (a) a northern 
group, and (b) a southern group called Billia, and says they claim 
to have once been Christians 4 . In Barth 's time most of them were 
pagans, but they now profess Muhammadanism 5 . Parties of these 
Bedayat periodically swoop down over the deserts that intervene 

1 " Darfur" means "The Country of the Fur." 

2 Vol. in, App. i, p. 496. 

3 See " Renseignements Coloniaux," p. 308, in L'Afrique Frangaise (Suppl.), 
Dec. 1914. 

4 Ibid. On this point see App. 5 to this chapter. 

5 El Tunisi (Voy. au Ouaddy, p. 17) speaks of the Bedayat as not of Arab origin 
though their manners and way of life, but not their language, are those of the 
Arabs. He classes them (p. 25) as nomadic negroes or "pseudo-beduins." 


between them and the Arabs and raid camels, women and children 
from the latter, and they even venture as far as the riverain districts 
of Dongola. Their hand is against every man's, but so remarkable is 
their power of endurance and their sense of direction that it is very 
difficult to overtake them. 

Slatin had dealings with them when he was an official of the 
Turkish Government in Darfur before the Mahdi'a. After mention- 
ing that they are pagans in all but name, he adds 1 : 

Under the widespreading branches of an enormous heglik 2 tree, and 
on a spot kept beautifully clean and sprinkled with fine sand, the Bedayat 
beseech an unknown god to direct them in their undertakings, and to 
protect them from danger. They have also religious feasts at uncertain 
dates, when they ascend the hills, and on the extreme summits, which are 
whitewashed, they offer sacrifices of animals. They are a fine, stalwart 
race, very dark in colour, with straight features, a thin nose and small 
mouth, and resemble Arabs more than Negroes. The women are famed 
for their long flowing hair, and there are some great beauties amongst 
them, as one often finds amongst the free Arab tribes. They generally wear 
skins of animals round their waists and loins ; but the higher class and their 
women dress in long flowing robes made of white Darfur cotton cloth. 
Their food is very plain. Corn does not grow in their country, and is 
almost unknown to them. They take the seeds of the wild pumpkin, which 
grows there in abundance, and they soak them in wooden vessels made 
from the bark of trees. After taking the outer shells off, they leave the 
seeds to steep until they lose their bitterness, and then, straining them off 
and mixing them with dates, they grind them into a sort of flour, which 
is cooked with meat, and forms the principal food of the country. 

They have also most strange customs as regards inheritance and suc- 
cession. The cemeteries are generally situated at some distance from the 
villages; and when a father dies, the body is taken by all the relatives to 
be buried. The ceremony over, on a given signal they all rush together at 
the top of their speed to the deceased's house; and he who arrives first 
and fixes his spear or arrow in it is considered the rightful heir, and not 
only becomes possessor of all the cattle, but also of his father's wives and 
other women, with the exception of his own mother. He is at perfect 
liberty to marry them if he wishes, or he can set them free. A man's 
female household is entirely regulated by his financial position. It is 
great or small according as the lord and master is rich or poor. 

As I before remarked, most of the people still adhered to their pagan 
customs, and it amused me greatly when Saleh Donkusa, who was by way 
of being a good Moslem himself, denied to me, in the most emphatic 
manner, that such customs were still in vogue in his tribe. I asked him 
what the great heglik-tree was which I had passed the previous day when 

1 Bk. 1, Ch. 3. 

2 Balanites Aegyptiaca. For the cult connected with trees and stones in Darfur 
see later sub Dagu and Fur. 


riding through the Khor, and why the ground underneath was sprinkled 
with fine sand. The question surprised him, and for a moment he was 
silent ; he then answered that it was the usual meeting place in which tribal 
matters were discussed. "The Maheria Arabs," said I, "wanted to graze 
their cattle near the tree; but when I saw that it was dedicated for some 
special purpose, I prevented them from doing so." He thanked me most 
heartily, and I could see that, though a fanatical Moslem himself, he was 
determined to uphold the ancient manners and customs of his tribe, and 
so retain his hold over them. I subsequently learned that it was entirely 
through him that the holy tree was preserved. 

Among the subdivisions of the Bedayat in Darfur are the Birayra, 
the Galligerki, the Kotierra, the Sar and the Urdia. 

III KURA'AN. The Kura'an for the most part live to the north of 
the Bedayat and also outside Darfur, but a few of them are scattered 
among the latter tribe and the Zaghawa. Their possible identity with 
the ancient Garamantes and their other racial affinities have been 
discussed in an earlier chapter. I may add here that such of them as 
I have met in Darfur identify themselves with the Daza (they say 
the terms are synonymous) as a branch of the Teda (or Ankazza). 
They admit only a distant relationship with the Bedayat and an even 
more remote one with the Zaghawa and do not understand the 
common language of those tribes. The Tibbu to the north of them, 
they say, speak a language similar to their own, but not identical 
with it 1 . They disclaim all connection with the Tuwarek (" Kenin "). 
The only branches of Kura'an I have heard mentioned are the 
following : 

Bulta Donza 

Gaida Killia 



Murdinga, or Murdia Jigada (in the west) 

IV ZaghAwa. Mixed with the Bedayat, but mainly to the south 
of them, in northern Darfur, are the Zaghawa 2 . This large tribe is 
mainly a mixture of Hamitic Tibbu and negro 3 , and has Libyo- 
Berber affinities. They were known to the mediaeval Arab geographers, 
but the bulk of them in the middle ages appear to have been consider- 

1 Curiously enough, when I was asking some Bedayat, Kura'an and Zaghawa 
with what tribe in particular they connected the Tibbu they replied that the Tibbu 
were reputed to have been in old days relatives of the Hadendoa of the Eastern 
Sudan. The strain common to both is of course the Hamitic. 

2 See MacMichael in jfourn. Anthr. Inst, xlii, 1912, and Tribes..., Ch. viu. 

3 Keane, Encycl. Brit. art. "Sudan," and cp. Cust, 1, 253, and Carbou, II, 209. 
Nachtigal, on the other hand, denied, on grounds that seem insufficient, that they 
were a Tibbu race. See Voy. au Ouaddi, p. 73. 


ably further west than at present, on the same latitude. Their native 
language is a dialect of Tibbu 1 , but most can also speak Arabic of a 

They are first mentioned by that "Herodotus of the Arabs," 
el Mas'udi, about 943 a.d. 2 He speaks of the descendants of "Kush 
the son of Kana'an," whom he refers to in general terms as " Habsha " 
and "Ahabish" (i.e. literally, Abyssinians), as moving westwards 
after the flood and then dividing into two main branches. The Nuba, 
the Bega and the Zing became separate, he says, from the others, 
who continued westwards "towards el Zaghawa and el Kanem and 
Marka and Kaukau and Ghana and the [s.c. countries of the] other 
kinds of blacks and Demadem." Later he speaks of these western 
migrants themselves as containing "Zaghawa and Kaukau and 
Karaki'r and Madida and el Melana and el Kumati and Duwayla 
and el Karma 3 ." What he obviously means is that certain Ethiopian 
races at a very early period pushed westwards to those countries 
bordering on the Niger west of Lake Chad which were subsequently 
known as Zaghai, Ghana, etc. 4 

El Idri'si, who wrote his Geography about 1153 after extensive 
travels in West Africa, in dealing with the desert of Tiser and the 
Zaghawa and Fezzan describes the precarious semi-nomadic exist- 
ence of the people, and says 5 : 

Les deux residences les plus considerables du Zaghawa sont celles de 
Sakouat (S^iw) et de Chameh (&*[$). On y trouve une tribu voyageuse 
appellee Sadraiet (ajIjJlo), qui passe pour etre Berbere. Les individus 
qui la composent ressemblent aux Zaghawiens; ils ont les memes habitudes, 
ils se sont identifies a leurs races et ils ont recours a eux pour tous les 
objets qui leur sont necessaires, et pour leur negoce. Chameh est un gros 
bourg, aujourd'hui mal peuple, dont les habitants se sont transported pour 
la plupart a Koukou ($£=>$£=>), ville situee a 16 journees de distance. Ils boi- 
vent beaucoup de lait, leurs eaux etant saumatres, et mangent de la viande 
coupee en lanieres et sechee au soleil. Ils se nourrissent aussi de reptiles, 
dont ils font une chasse abondante et qu'ils font cuire apres leur avoir 
coupe la tete et la queue. Ces peuples sont tres sujets a la gale, en sorte 
qu'a ce signe, dans tout le pays et dans toutes les tribus du Soudan, on 
reconnait un Zaghawien. S'ils s'abstenaient de manger du serpent, ils en 
seraient totalement exempts. Ils vont nus et cachent seulement leurs 

1 Cp. MacMichael's vocabularies in Journ. Anthr. with those of Carbou, I, 
213 et seq. 

2 Vol. in, Ch. 33, pp. 1, 2, 37, 38. 

3 The names vary in different MSS. Kaukau (Leo's "Gago") is Kagho (or 
Gao or Gogo) on the Niger. See Cooley, p. 32. 

4 Cooley learnedly discusses the exact geographical situation of these western 
kingdoms and may be consulted for details. 

5 P. in in Vol. V of the Recueil de Voyages 


parties honteuses au moyen de cuirs tannes de chameau et de chevre, 
qui sont couverts de diverses sortes d'incisions et d'ornements. 

II y a dans ce pays une montagne nommee Loukia (^iusjj) 1 , tres 
haute et d'un difficile acces, bien qu'elle soit formee d'une terre blanche 
et molle. Nul ne peut, sans perir, approcher des cavernes qui se trouvent 
sur son sommet, attendu, d'apres ce qu'on assure, qu'on y trouve des 
serpents d'une grosseur enorme qui s'elancent sur quiconque se dirige 
sans le savoir vers leurs retraites, ce qui fait que les habitants du pays les 

redoutent et les evitent Les habitants de ce canton sont Zaghawiens et 

leur tribu se nomme Sakouat ; ils sont tres sedentaires, possedent de nom- 
breux troupeaux de chameau de race estimee, fabriquent leurs vetements 
et les tentes ou ils demeurent avec le poil de ces animaux, et se nourrissent 
de leur lait, de leur beurre et de leur chair. Chez eux les legumes sont 
rare ; cependant ils cultivent le dhorra, qui (comme on sait) est la principale 
production du Zaghawa: on y apporte quelquefois du ble de Wardjelan 
et d'ailleurs. 

Late in the fourteenth century, it is said, the Zaghawa came 
under the domination of the Bulala 2 . 

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) speaks of the Tawarek as a section of 
Sanhaga Berbers who include the kindred tribes of Lamtuna, 
Zaghawa and Lamta and have frequented the tracts separating the 
country of the Berbers from that of the blacks since a time long 
previous to Islam 3 . But he also quotes Ibn Sa'id (1214-1287) to the 
effect that there were Zaghawa living next to the Nubians, i.e. further 
east, and that they were Muhammadans and included a section called 
"Tagua 4 ." 

Makrizi (fl. 1400), or Ibn Sa'id from whom he copies, tells us 
that "all the nations between Abyssinia on the south, Nubia on 
the east, Barka on the north, and Takrur on the west are called 
'Zaghai 5 .'" 

Leo Africanus (fl. 1528) evidently refers to the Zaghawa and the 
cognate Kura'an when he speaks of the journey between Cairo and 
Bornu as dangerous owing to the depredations of "certaine theeves 
called Zingani," and when, in the passage previously quoted, he 
says "the king of Nubia maintaineth continuall warre partly against 
the people of Goran (who being descended of the people called 
Zingani, inhabite the deserts and speake a kinde of language that 

1 Or"Lounia"(a*3 3 )). 

2 Barth, in, Ch. LI, p. 428, quoting Makrizi and Abu el Fida; but it is probable 
that the allusion is merely to the Zaghawa of Kanem. 

3 Ed. de Slane, Bk. 11, 64. 

4 Ibid. p. 105, and ed. ar., VI, 199; Bk. in. A variant for "Tagua" (3^a»U>) 
reads "Tagra" (S^U). 

5 Cooley, p. 98. 


no other nation vnderstandeth) and partly against certaine other 
people 1 ." 

The Zaghawa are still much where they were in Leo's time, but 
the nomad Arabs have interposed to a larger degree between them 
and Nubia, and the only colony of them now between Darfur and 
the Nile is at Kagmar in Kordofan. This settlement was probably 
made early in the eighteenth century 2 and includes the "Zaghawa 
hills " of el Roy'ian and el 'Atshan : it is now in gradual process of 
arabicization ; and the same applies in a less degree to the semi- 
nomadic Zaghawa of Darfur, who, though they do not call them- 
selves Arabs and have not yet faked Arab pedigrees, speak Arabic 
and with Muhammadanism have adopted many Arab customs. They 
still, however, retain their belief in rainmakers (hogi 3 ). They are 
a lithe, stalwart and active folk, of the same cast of countenance as 
the Tibbu, very black-skinned 4 , and much addicted to raiding and 
blood feuds. 

The Fur call them "Merida," the Midobis "Kebadi," the Tama 
(and Erenga) "Kuyuk," and they call themselves "Berri"; but in 
the dialects of the Dagu and others they appear as "Zagawa." The 
Birked use the form "Zauge." 

El Tunisi gives 5 a number of details concerning the Zaghawa at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century. Their country, a very 
spacious area in north-western Darfur was ruled by a tributary 
sultan who had twelve meliks subject to him. It was often known 
as "Dar Tekenyaouy," 6 a term also used however to include the 
Berti country immediately east of it. The Zaghawa and Berti, 
though living as neighbours, "par un trait frappant de la sagesse 
divine," were very different in character, the advantage both in 
morals and appearance lying with the latter. The Zaghawa were at 
feud with the M ah amid Arabs. 

1 Cp. Chap. 2, xli, of this Part. The reference to Leo is Bk. vn, 826 and 828. 
Temporal translated "Zingane" as "Gypsies" and Dr Brown (Leo, p. 828) thinks 
this correct. On p. 826 (loc. cit.) he says the Zingani cannot be classed with any 
known people. Sir C. Wilson {Journ. Anthr. Inst. Aug. 1887) thought the Zingani 
might be Kababish Arabs "not yet arabicized." The Gypsies in Syria and Asia 
Minor are still called "tchingene" (von Luschan, loc. cit. p. 227). 

2 See MacMichael, Tribes..., p. 109. 

3 "Hogon" is also the word used on the Hombori plateau (Upper Niger) for 
a rainmaker or sorcerer (see MacMichael, loc. cit. 114). For their belief in certain 
holy stones and trees see Para, vm of this chapter. 

4 Cp. Carbou, 11, 209. 5 Voyage au Darfour, pp. 128, 132, 133, 136-139, 297. 
6 The term is said by el Tunisi to mean " the left arm or wing [of the Sultan] " ; 

but the Fur of the present tell me it denotes the loins ("sulub"). "Tekenyaouy" 
was the title of its ruler, a functionary quite distinct from the local Sultan and 
apparently a kind of viceroy of the Sultan of Darfur (see loc. cit. pp. 132, 133, 138). 
The title still survives, though its holder has neither authority nor duties. 


At present the Zaghawa are divided into several large sections, 
of which the chief are the following 1 : 




Kaitinga 2 . This large community, living close to the north of 
Kuttum, regards itself, and is regarded by others, as Tungur by 
descent on the male side and Zaghawa on the female side. They are 
inclined to demur to the appellation of Zaghawa, though not flatly 
disowning it, and to speak of themselves as a separate tribe. They 
never call themselves Tungur. 

Kobbe. (Including the Kubga.) This section is in the extreme 
north-west of Darfur and north-east of Wadai. There is a colony of 
Kubga, with other Kobbe (Nas Firti), near Kebkebia, but their 
habitat proper is in a mountainous district north-west of Dar Tama. 

The Kobbe are subdivided into Ango, Mirra, Nowra, Wayra, 
Baybela, Kerayko, Birriarra, Bursu, Sigerla and Gode; the 
Kubga into Bigi, Erla, Hotillia, Derbula and Birgabela 3 . 



Galigalgera, or Ganigalgera (under the Kaliba). 

Awl ad Dikayn and Awl ad Doura. Under Akaba. Until the 
latter part of the eighteenth century, however, the Akaba were under 
the Awlad Dikayn nahds. 

Each main division of the Zaghawa now has its own melik, 
subject to no single Zaghawi Sultan or overlord. Their habitat 
stretches across practically the whole of northernmost Darfur and 
part of northern Wadai 4 , and in its more southernly districts (in 
Darfur) is largely peopled by Fur and Tungur. 

V MiDOB. Gebel Midob lies about 400 miles west of Khartoum 
or 350 miles west-south-west of Debba, in the north-eastern corner 
of Darfur, and mention has already been made of its people as having a 
Nubian strain and speaking a dialect that resembles that of the Barabra 5 . 

1 The Zaghawa generally add the Bedayat to the list of their subtribes. 

2 The Kaitinga brand is as shown. The "crow's-foot" at the base is 
common to most Fur and Tungur brands and appears to be borrowed from 
the royal Kayra section of Fur (q.v. in Para, xx, and cp. Paras. VII and xix). 

3 The details of subdivisions of Kobbe and Kubga were supplied to me by 
Mr E. G. Sarsfield Hall of the Sudan Civil Service, Inspector of Northern Darfur. 

4 See Carbou, II, 209, 210. 

5 Part I, Chap. 2, xxxm and xlii. The account of Mfdob which follows is partly 
identical with an article I contributed, under the title "Nubian Influences in 
Darfur," to the first number of Sudan Notes and Records (1918), but certain 
additions have been made. For a comparative vocabulary of Mfdob, Birked and 
Barabra, see later sub Birked. 




The range itself is a jumbled mass of hills of volcanic origin, 
between ioo and 200 miles in circumference, divided by numberless 
small valleys. The people are semi-nomadic: for the greater part of 
the year they are constantly shifting camp from place to place in 
and about their hills according to the grazing facilities, and in the 
rains, though a few folk remain stationary in villages for the sake of 
cultivation the great majority are away with the flocks in the great 
uninhabited area lying east of the range and west of the Wadi el 
Melik, where the Kababish Arabs send their camels and sheep at 
the same season from the opposite side. They are primarily herders 
of sheep and goats and have little cultivation. They buy most of their 
corn from the Berti to the south and there is a small but long- 
established colony of Midobis living in the northern Tagabo (Berti) 

The huts which compose a Mi'dob village are of a curious — and 
to me unique — design. As having no permanent value they are built 
in a ramshackle manner, and when the site is changed they are simply 
abandoned. In shape they are roughly circular and in appearance 
not unlike great beehives : in content they slightly exceed the ordinary 
village tukl of Kordofan and Darfur. 

The sides are formed of long boughs stuck in the ground so as 
to bear slightly inwards. Their tops do not converge so as actually 
to meet — this would make the house too small — but the space between 
their tops is filled by interlacing many other shorter boughs hori- 
zontally from fork to fork in the manner of a rook's nest. Stability 
and support are given to the structure by two or more stout roof- 
trees, forked at the top, which are planted side by side a few feet 
apart near the centre of the hut. Smaller boughs and sticks are thrust 
in and across the forks of the larger boughs and interstices are crudely 
plugged with bunches of grass and cornstalks. The doorway opens 
to the south and is low and formed of two shaybas. The interior 
is not open as in the case of a tukl. On entering the door one 
advances along a kind of gangway which extends as far as the roof- 
trees. This gangway consists of a high partition of grass-matting 
(sherkama) on either side, reaching nearly to the roof. On one 
side the partition is continued at a right angle along the line of the 
roof-trees to the outer wall in such a way as to form a private room 
in the angle: on the other side it ends near the centre of the hut, 
thus leaving about three-quarters of the interior open. The villages 
are all on the plain but usually close to the foot of the hills. 

The people are Muhammadans, but there are plentiful traces of 
more ancient manners and beliefs. For instance, a matrilinear system 


of inheritance and succession is still followed, and on the death of 
a mek he is succeeded by his sister's son. There are two meks 
in Middb, one of the northern portion of the range (Urti section), 
the other of the southern (Shelkota section), and in both cases the 
practice is the same. 

In the matter of inheritance it is usual, in order to conform to 
Islamic practice while preserving the ancient custom, for a man before 
his death to give his wealth to his sons, and the sister's son therefore 
finds nothing left to inherit. The well-to-do carry a sword, the rest 
a few throwing spears or a knobbed stick. The throwing stick, uni- 
versal in the rest of Darfur, is not used at Midob. 

Circumcision of both sexes is practised. Marriage with the 
daughter of the paternal uncle, usual among the nomadic Arabs, is 
taboo at Midob, but the same does not apply to marriage with the 
daughter of the maternal uncle. 

A very interesting annual festival is held by the Midobis of the 
north and south alike. It begins, it is said, on the eighth day of a 
lunar month, when the corn is ripe and the first few heads are being 
cut, but before the general reaping. On this occasion the young men 
and the girls go (in the case of the southern Midobis) to Khor Odingar 
and camp there for fifteen days, enjoying themselves with dancing 
and horse-play. The elder folk merely act the part of spectators and 
bring out the food and drink for the others. 

A month later, on the eighth of the following month, that is, the 
young men go (in the case of the southern Midobis) to Khor Tat 
and take part in manly sports, running and riding, etc. The women 
and girls look on. In the evening each young man has to jump over 
the Khor; and then all go home. 

So much — the date in the month excepted — I was told at Midob, 
and it was added in passing that the young men had their heads 
anointed for the festival. But in 191 8 I was travelling with some 
Midobis and noticed that one of them, a youth aged 19 or so, wore 
his hair long and thickly plaited and parted down the middle — some- 
what after the fashion of the Bedayria youths — with the plaits tied 
together for temporary convenience at the back of his head. This 
led to enquiries and the following additional facts transpired. The 
whole festival described above is known as the bazza, and if the 
year is a bad one from the point of view of the harvest (bukkali, 
Arabic 1 ; urung'ul, Midob) it is not held. 

The plaited hair (dirwa, or tirwi, Arabic 1 ; rafan, Midob) 

1 The Midobis speak of this as an Arabic word, but, if so, it seems to be a 
corruption of some sort. 


is an important feature in the proceedings. In anticipation of the 
festival the lads of Mi'dob allow their hair to grow long, and about 
spring-time they begin to pay special attention to anointing and 
plaiting it. Thus, when the time comes for the celebration of the 
second half of the festival, if the fathers, judging the harvest suffi- 
ciently good to warrant it, give sanction and anoint their own heads 
(which are, of course, close shorn), the lads dress themselves up with 
women's ornaments, bracelets, beads, etc., and take a drum (nu- 
gdra) and form a procession and go round visiting all the neighbour- 
ing villages, beating their drum and inviting contributions. 

In a good year there will be some fifty to a hundred youths thus 
celebrating the bazza, in a poor year perhaps only a dozen or so ; 
and evidently it is a matter for distinct pride in after-life to have 
been one of the lads of a good year: of my informants one boasted 
that he had been one of sixty-three and another one of fifty-five. If 
the numbers are sufficiently large two independent processions are 
formed instead of one. 

Before setting out on their series of visits (which may extend over 
a week or a fortnight or so, according to the number of villages to be 
visited and the length of the gaps between visits) the lads select from 
among the elders of their tribe, for the maturity of their judgment, 
two old men (" baraga sirigi," i.e. "rulers of the young men 1 ") as 
advisers: it was explained that two were chosen, and not one only, 
because in human affairs "two heads are better than one." It is a 
matter of formality that these two elders at first refuse, and only 
allow themselves to be over-persuaded when the lads engage solemnly 
to them to behave themselves and lead a decent orderly life, avoiding 
quarrels and irregularities and insubordination. This done, the two 
elders consent to act, and instruct the lads in the proper ritual. The 
same elders may never serve more than twice. 

In addition, the lads select from among their own number two 
leaders 2 for each procession, or for the single procession, as the case 
may be; but for this privilege only those are eligible whose fathers 
and mothers are still alive and hale. During the course of the pro- 
cessional visits all the lads submit to the orders of the leaders thus 

Then the procession sets out and visits the villages, beating the 
drum and collecting whatever is offered of corn, money, sheep, strips 
of cotton material, etc. Small girls, not yet come to puberty, may 

1 The word "sirigi" is also that used for a village sheikh at Midob. 

2 Also apparently called "baraga sirigi," as are the two elders. It appears to 
be immaterial which of all the youths beats the drum. 


follow in the train of the procession, but it is not customary for any- 
one else to do so. 

At the end of the festival the offerings are all handed over to the 
two elders, who divide up one-third of the total among the lads and 
keep two-thirds for themselves. The leaders of the procession get no 
more in this distribution than their companions. 

Then the lads disperse to their homes and the father of each (or 
in default the father's brother) cuts off his son's locks and gives them 
to the mother, and she hangs them up in the home and there they 
remain suspended indefinitely. 

This cutting of the hair is the final consummation of the whole 
affair, and every male Midobi goes through the process on the 
threshold of his manhood, and once for all. There is no particular 
age specified, and the rite has apparently no connection with puberty, 
marriage, etc. One simply waits for a reasonably good harvest year. 
It is only forbidden for sons of the same mother to go through the 
ceremony in a single year, though sons of the same father by different 
mothers may do so. Until his hair has been shorn it is improper for 
a boy to leave the mountain, and, in the case of the one with unshorn 
locks whom I encountered, nothing but the force of particular cir- 
cumstances would have induced him to do it, and he was obviously 
ashamed of himself 1 . 

1 So far as I could ascertain no other neighbouring Darfur tribe has any strictly 
analogous rite. The somewhat similar practice among the Kimr (see Para, xxi) is 
associated with circumcision and has nothing to do with the harvest. 

The obvious interest in the Mfdobi festival is the resemblance it bears to 
May-Day festivals, whether that associated with the holy bull of Magnesia (Asia 
Minor) in pre-Christian days, or that still held in Thuringia, or in the country 
districts of England "where," as Miss Harrison says, "the Queen of the May 
and the Jack-in-the-Green still go from house to house. Nowadays it is to 
collect pence; once it was to diffuse 'grace' and increase" (Ancient Art and Ritual, 

P- 175)- 

Take the case of the Thuringian festival first: "As soon as the trees begin 
to be green in spring, the children assemble on a Sunday and go out into the woods, 
where they choose one of their playmates to be Little Leaf Man. They break 
branches from the trees and twine them about the child, till only his shoes are left 
peeping out. Two of the other children lead him for fear he should stumble. They 
take him singing and dancing from house to house, asking for gifts of food, such 
as eggs, cream, sausages, cakes..." (Art and Ritual, p. 60). 

Even more striking is the parallel from ancient Asia Minor: "It was not only 
at Elis that a holy Bull appears at the Spring Festival. Plutarch asks another 
instructive Question: 'Who among the Delphians is the Sanctifier?' And we find 
to our amazement that the Sanctifier is a Bull. A Bull who not only is holy him- 
self, but is so holy that he has power to make others holy, he is the Sanctifier; 
and, most important for us, he sanctifies by his death in the month Bysios, the 
month that fell...' at the beginning of spring, the time of the blossoming of many 

"We do not hear that the 'Sanctifier' at Delphi was 'driven,' but in all prob- 
ability he was led from house to house, that every one might partake in the sanctity 


Just before the rains the southern Mfdobis hold a quite different 
ceremony at the holy rock of Udru, a broken unshaped block of 
granite some 2f feet high lying at the foot of Gebel Udru (called by 
the Arabs "Mogran"), a large and conspicuous detached hill on the 
south side of Mi'dob. The holy rock is called Telli (northern dialect) 
or Delli (southern dialect) and the same word in the Midobi language 
means God. Over it is built a rough hut of boughs, which is repaired 
yearly before the ceremony, but left in bad repair for the greater part 
of the year. The rock, when I saw it in July 19 17, was still covered 
with milk stains. Another smaller boulder near by had similar stains 
upon it and some stones and cow-dung on the top of it. This second 
boulder was referred to as the son or younger brother of the larger 
one, and the reason of its having also been honoured was said to be 
that the hut built over the big boulder had so consistently fallen to 
pieces that the people thought the rock was perhaps annoyed at the 
neglect shown to the smaller boulder, so of late years they had taken 
to making offerings to both. The stones and cow-dung had been 
placed upon the smaller boulder by the children in play. 

The ceremony at Udru is performed by certain old women of 
the Ordarti section, who inherit the privilege from mother to daughter. 
The offerings of milk, fat, flour, meat, etc., are handed by the 
votaries to these old women and by them placed on the rock. The 
rest of the people stand some way off and pass the time jumping and 
dancing and singing. 

There is said to be another holy stone at which similar rain- 
that simply exuded from him. At Magnesia, a city of Asia Minor, we have more 
particulars. There, at the annual fair year by year the stewards of the city bought 
a Bull, 'the finest that could be got,' and at the new moon of the month at the 
beginning of seedtime they dedicated it for the city's welfare. The Bull's sanctified 
life began with the opening of the agricultural year, whether with the spring or 
the autumn ploughing we do not know. The dedication of the Bull was a high 
solemnity. He was led in procession, at the head of which went the chief priest 
and priestess of the city. With them went a herald and the sacrificer, and two bands 
of youths and maidens. So holy was the bull that nothing unlucky might come near 
him; the youths and maidens must have both their parents alive, they must not 
have been under the taboo, the infection, of death. The herald pronounced aloud 
a prayer for 'the safety of the city and the land, and the citizens, and the women 
and children, for peace and wealth, and for the bringing forth of grain and of all 
the other fruits, and of cattle.' All this longing for fertility, for food and children, 
focuses round the holy Bull, whose holiness is his strength and fruitfulness." 

The bull is set apart and fed and "it is good" for those that give him food. 
He lives on through autumn and winter but early in April the end comes. Again 
a procession is formed, senate and priests, "children and young boys and youths 
just come to manhood" take their part in it, and the Bull is sacrificed so that his 
strength and vigour may pass to his people. And "'when they shall have sacri- 
ficed the Bull, let them divide it up among those who took part in the procession,"' 
that each "may get his share of the strength of the Bull, of the luck of the State" 
{Art and Ritual, pp. 86-89). 


making ceremonies are held, a day's journey away, at Gebel Abu 
Nukta. It also is called Telli (Delli). 

We shall see that elsewhere in Darfur analogous ceremonies are 
held with the object of ensuring good rains, and in every case the 
medium is an old woman, and offerings are made at some particular 
stone or tree; but in the case of Midob there is, so far as I could 
discover, no suggestion of the usual serpent or other demon having 
its lair beneath 1 . 

The three main sections into which the people of Midob are 
divided are the Urti (in the northern hills), the Torti (or Dorti), 
and the Shelkota (in the southern hills), but there are also certain 
well-defined subdivisions such as the Ordarti, the Genana — who 
are reckoned to have a strong Arab strain and whose name is familiar 
from the "nisbas" (q.v. in Part IV) — the Turkeddi, the Usutti and 
the Kageddi. All alike (the Genana excepted) claim to be Mahass 
from Dongola but they preserve no written record nor oral tradition 
as to the time at which thev settled at Midob nor as to the circum- 
stances of their migration. They call themselves Tiddi 2 . 

The old burial grounds at Midob are invariably at the foot of 
the hills and the sites are marked by rough cairns of stone. Exactly 
similar cairns occur between Midob and the Wadi el Melik, on the 
Wadi el Melik, at Kaga and Katul, on the Wadi el Mukaddam, in 
the hills immediately west of Omdurman and in the hills between 
the Blue Nile and Abu Delayk. 

VI BERTI. South of the Midob hills, in eastern Darfur, live the 
Berti, a large tribe of mixed origin. To the Fur they are known as 
Kurmu, to the Birred as Sulgu, to the Midob people as Bayti. 
They call themselves Sigato. Their upper classes put forward shadowy 
claims to be related to the Ga'aliin of the Nile valley and to the 
Howara 3 by descent and to the Dar Hamid group of Kordofan by 
intermarriage, but in appearance they are all alike negroid. 

The true home of the Berti is in the Tagabo hills between Midob 
and el Fasher, but in recent years, owing partly to the oppressiveness 
of the Fur Sultan's rule and partly to the local failure of the crops, 
large numbers of them have settled to the south-east in Gebel el 
Hilla and Tawaysha districts, where there used to be only insignificant 
colonies of Berti, and in western Kordofan. They are entirely 
sedentary and are rightly described by el Tiinisi 4 as a mild and 

1 Compare Ibn Selfm's record of the vogue of a sacred stone in connection with 
rainmaking in the Soba (Gezira) region in the tenth century (see Part II, Chap. 2). 

2 "Tiddi" in the Berti language means "white" — probably a mere coincidence. 

3 See Part III,, Chap. 8. 

4 See Voy. Darfour, pp. 128, 133, 136, 297. 


good-natured people. In fact the Arabs despise them as spiritless 
and cowardly. Apart from cultivation their only industry appears 
to be the making of burmas, or jars for water or merissa. 
The process is the same as in northern Kordofan, for instance. 
The ball of clay is placed on a piece of rough matting, the fist is 
driven into it and the walls of the jar are driven out from the 
inside. The mouthpiece and neck are made separately and super- 

Iron-workers are, as usual throughout Darfur, held in detestation, 
but both the Zaghawa and the Berti harbour small colonies of servile 
iron-workers from the west 1 . 

There are two or three holy stones and trees in or near the Tagabo 
hills 2 , where rites are performed once or twice a year. The usual 
occasion is just before the rains are due to commence, but it is not 
unusual for recourse to be had to these sites ("mahalldt 'awdid" 
=" places of customs") also at harvest time, immediately before the 
reaping, in the hope of ensuring a good crop and fat kine. As at 
Midob, the intermediaries are old women who hold the right from 
mother to daughter, but the daughter does not practise until she has 
had children or is advanced in years. The space round the tree or 
stone is carefully swept and sheep are sacrificed and offerings of 
meat, milk, fat and flour are made and "worship is rendered." The 
families of the old women officiating are allowed to sit close by and 
watch the rites, but the rest of the populace remain afar. 

One informant denied any idea of a spirit or animal living below 
the sacred tree or rock, but others on the contrary held there were 
afdrit {sing, afrit =an (evil) spirit) there, though they had no notion 
of their shape or form or attributes. The old women, they say, talk to 
these and stroke and soothe the stone. 

But, as a matter of fact, those Berti who have acquired some 
measure of civilization by contact with the Arabs are inclined to 
regard the whole matter as a superstition, and it seems to be only 
among the ruder type living among the Tagabo hills that the rites 
are still practised. 

The Berti are subdivided into innumerable sections and the 
names of the greater number of these correspond to the names of 
hills in or near Tagabo, but it was insisted by the head Shartdi 
{'omda) of the tribe, from whom I obtained the following list, that 
it was the hills which were called after the sections, and not vice versa. 

1 See p. 89. 

2 One is at Sayah, one at the small hill which gives its name to the whole 
Tagabo range. The latter of these is the most important site of all. 

m.s.i. 5 



I. 4. VI. 












Arm ad i at 





Musaba'at 1 








Basinga 2 









Madinkirto 3 







Sambangato 4 

Lababis 5 




The dialect spoken by the Berti bears marked resemblances to 
that of the Zaghawa 6 . 

VII TUNGUR. The Tungur were reported to Barth 7 as having 
come originally from Dongola "where they had separated from the 
Batalesa, the well-known Egyptian tribe originally settled in Benese." 
Now "Batalesa" is simply a regular plural formed from "Batlus," 
the Arabic form of Ptolemy (Ptolemaeus) 8 , and the legend suggests 
that the Tungur were an ancient pre- Arab tribe from Nubia. From 
certain customs that survive among them 9 one would infer that they 
were Christians at the date of their migration to the west. Carbou 
states 10 "La tradition des Toundjour parle aussi d'un sejour de leur 
tribu sur les bords du bahr Nil"; and one notes in confirmation 
that their name survives in that of the " Tungur " Rapid seventy- two 
miles south of Wadi Haifa. On reaching Darfur, probably in the 
fifteenth or sixteenth century 11 , they took up their abode in the 
northern or central districts. They have been spoken of by travellers 
as dispossessing the Dagu in Darfur, but there is no doubt that there 

1 Presumably Fur by origin. 

2 The headman's own section. Cp. p. 95. 

3 Cp. " Madargarkei " among the Birked? 

4 Cp. " Sumbinange " and " Sambelange" among the Dagu. 

b Cp. other Lababfs, claiming to be Kababfsh by origin, among the Fur. 

6 For examples see Appendix 1 to this chapter. 

7 O.v. Vol. in, Ch. li, p. 430. 

8 See, e.g., Abu el Fida, Hist. Ant. p. 104, iLJUaJ! >oUJI u-^Vj j-*** ^.A^ 
I see that Dr Brown, editing Leo, calls (p. 645) the "Batalises" one of the Zeneta 
(Berber) tribes. 

9 See Appendix 5 to this chapter. 10 1, 74. 

11 It may well have been earlier than the sixteenth century, but the Tungur are 
not mentioned by Leo at the beginning of the sixteenth century: cp. Barth, ibid. 
pp. 429, 430. Nachtigal thought they entered Darfur in the fifteenth century 
(see Carbou, 1, 74). 


has been some misapprehension on this point. It is true that natives 
will tell one that first the Dagu ruled, then the Tungur, then the 
Fur ; but what they mean in the case of the first two is that each in 
turn was the most powerful tribe in the country and not necessarily 
that one subdued the other or even occupied the same part of Darfur. 
For instance, the Dagu never had any shadow of power or influence 
in northern Darfur or Gebel Marra, and the Tungur never had any 
connection with the southernmost districts of Darfur or Gebel Marra. 
The main spheres of the two people were always distinct, except 
that they certainly met and overlapped in central-eastern Darfur, that 
is to say, in the neighbourhood of el Fasher. 

I incline, too, to think that there has been a further miscon- 
ception as to the Tungur. Nachtigal 1 speaks of the last Tungur 
king, Shau Dorshid, as living in Gebel Si, and it has been inferred 
that the Tungur (all or part) lived in those mountains and that they 
had the seat of their rule there. But the term "Gebel Si" is a very 
wide one. It does not include only the rocky, almost impassable, 
range which forms the northern prolongation of Gebel Marra, but 
all the cultivable sandy country with smaller outcrops of rock which 
flank the hills for a day's journey or so to east and west. Even in 
'Ali Dinar's time and at the present day the head Shartdi of Si, which 
is thus a district as well as a range, does not live in the hills but on 
the sandy fertile tract to the east of it ; and there is no local record 
or tradition that I have been able to trace, even in Si itself, that the 
Tungur ever occupied the mountains of Si proper or had their 
headquarters there. Nor is it in the least likely from what we know 
of their history that they ever bothered — or were able — to overrun 
these inhospitable crags and settle there. Why should they when 
the fertile country to the east, and perhaps to the west also, was 
ample for them ? 

The truth seems to be simply that the Tungur, when they 
arrived in northern Darfur made their headquarters at Ferra in Dar 
Furnung to the north-west of Kuttum — all local tradition agrees as 
to this — and their control extended over the eastern plains of Gebel 
Si 2 . That the savage mountaineers of Si were overawed by them and 
perhaps paid them some tribute is not impossible, but there is no 
definite evidence of it. That there was copious intermarriage between 
Fur and Tungur in this neighbourhood is indubitable. The name 
of Shau Dorshid is familiar in Gebel Si itself to the present day, 
but the greatest vagueness prevails as to details and opinion is even 

1 See History of the World (Helmolt), p. 585. 

2 For a description of their remains at Ferra see Appendix 5 to this chapter. 



divided as to whether he was a Tungurawi or a Furawi or one of the 
To Ra, the prehistoric people who, according to tradition, preceded 
the Fur both in the mountains of Si and Turra (the northernmost 
portion of Marra, immediately south of Si). For this confusion the 
local blending by marriage of Fur and Tungur stocks is obviously 
responsible, for an exactly similar doubt surrounds the ethnical status 
of the people of Dar Furnung themselves at the present day. 

The Tungur were not content to remain for long in Darfur. In 
less than a century they began to extend their conquests over Wadai 
and up to the borders of Bakirmi. 

In proportion, however, as they moved westwards they weakened 
their hold over the most easternly part of their dominions and their 
place was taken by the Kayra section of the Fur with whom they 
had intermarried 1 . 

In the west they were overcome in the first half of the seventeenth 
century by 'Abd el Kerim, the founder of the Muhammadan empire 
of Wadai 2 . They then moved into Kanem and overcame the Bulala 
and compelled the Arab tribes to pay tribute. By this time, if not 
before, they had been converted to Islam. Subsequently they were 
subdued by the Bornuans, but in the middle of the nineteenth century 
regained the mastery by the aid of the Sultan of Wadai. Shortly 
afterwards, however, the Awlad Sulayman invaded their country 
and made them tributary. Since then they have been of little account 3 . 

The tradition given by Slatin 4 is to the effect that the Tungur 
came from the north from Tunis under "Ahmad el Ma'akur" (of 
the Beni Hilal, the commonly reputed ancestor of the Kayra Fur), 
but this story is so obviously intertwined with the fabulous "Abu 
Zayd" or "Beni Hilal" cycle current in Egypt and the Sudan 5 , and 
there may so easily be a confusion between Tungur and Fur tradi- 
tions, due to the extent to which they intermarried in northern Darfur, 

1 Note that the mother and not the father of Dali, who is spoken of as the first 
Kayra Sultan, belonged to the Kayra family: the father was a Tungurawi (Carbou, 
I, 77). So, too, 'Abd el Kerfm (q.v. next paragraph) is said to have married the 
daughter of the Tungur king (Carbou, I, 78). 

2 Barth, loc. cit.; Nachtigal, Sah. und Sudan, in, 449 ff. and Voy. au Ouada'i, 
pp. 72, 93; Schurtz, pp. 541-544, and Carbou, 1, 73-84, 25, 26. The last two are 
quoting Nachtigal. 

3 Carbou, 1, Ch. in. 4 Chap. 11. 

5 The subject is discussed in my Tribes..., pp. 56, 57. See also Escayrac de 
Lauture, Le Desert et le Soudan, and Carbou, 1, 74, 84, and 11, 17. The last-named 
also refers to an article "Schoa und Tundscher" by Hartmann in Der islamische 
Orient, 1, 29-31, and to C. H. Becker's "Zur Geschichte der ostlichen Sudan" 
(in Der Islam, i re annee, fasc. 11), pp. 161, 162. Becker brings the Tungur from 
the east. Kampffmeyer (Studien der arabischen Beduinendialecte Inner Afrikas, 
p. 166), ap. Carbou, 1, 84, brings them from Tunis. 

For an account of the Beni Hilal see Part II, Chap. 1, xiv. 


that one would hesitate to accept any of its details as historically 

The Tungur, however, are generally regarded as having some 
intimate connection with the Beni Hilal, and, though this may only 
be an echo of the Kayra tradition, the converse may equally be true, 
and there also remains the possibility that about the fifteenth or 
sixteenth century a.d., or even earlier, some Arabs or Arabo-Niibians 
with a Beni Hilal connection, moved westwards from .the cataract 
region of the Nile to Darfur, mixed with the native races, and came 
to be generally known as Tungur 1 , a theory not unsupported by 
local tradition 2 . 

There is also the bare possibility that the Tungur may have been 
related to the Berber tribes dispossessed by the Beni Hilal in North 
Africa, and perhaps through them to the Beni Hilal themselves. 
Or they may conceivably present a parallel to the case of the Howara 
settled in and near el Fasher : these latter are by origin Berbers from 
Upper Egypt who in Dongola and Kordofan are represented by the 
nomad Hawawir and the negrified Gellaba Howara respectively 3 . 

The word "Tungur" in Nubian or Barabra means "a bow for 
shooting 4 "; Nubia was known to the Pharaohs as Ta-sety (Land of 
the Bow), and "Les Nubiens, dit Masoudy, servent d'arcs 
arabes pour lancer des fleches. C'est d'eux que les peuples du 
Hedjaz, du Yemen, et les autres Arabes, ont appris a tirer de Tare 5 .... 
Les Arabes les nomment les archers habiles*" Their traditions con- 
nect them with Dongola and the Beni Hilal, they preserve (as may 
be seen in Appendix 5) the custom of using the sign of the Cross, 
their name survives in a rapid on the Nile, and, all things considered, 
one may say that such evidence as there is clearly indicates a Nubian 
origin for the Tungur. 

If this is correct, a parallel is provided by the case of the Birked 
which will shortly be discussed. 

The Tungur have generally been referred to by travellers as 

1 This seems to be Carbou's view (q.v. I, 74 note). 

2 Cp. MS. D 1, cxliii, and cp. Sir H. H. Johnston's views in Journ. Anthr. 
Inst, xliii, 1913, p. 399. He considers that a large proportion of the "Hilalian" 
invaders found their way from the cataract region of the Nile " across Darfur to 
Wadai, Bornu and Baghirmi, where they are represented at the present day by 
the Shawia. Others again mingled with Hamitic and negro elements and founded 
the powerful Funj dynasty of Senaar." From the second of these statements I 
would entirely dissent. 

3 See App. to Part II, Chap. 1. 

4 Reinisch, Die Nuba- Spr ache, p. 165. 

5 Quatremere, II, 28. 

6 Mas'udi, 11, 383 (and cp. II, 2, xxm above): the Arabic is wJjjOl^gy *^ **. 

JjoJI 5Uj. 


Arabs, and they still, after the debased Ga'ali manner, make per- 
functory claim to be descended from the Beni 'Abbas, however 
difficult it may be to reconcile this with the Beni Hilal connection. 

In Darfur and Kordofan it is not uncommon to see both the 
distinctively negroid and the distinctively dark Arab type among the 
Tungur; but in Wadai, on the other hand, Nachtigal found the 
Tungur with "a skin almost white." They spoke Arabic and had 
the reputation of being Arabs 1 . 

M. Carbou speaks of the western Tungur as a population inter- 
mediary between the Arabs and the Kanembu and Tibbu, and mixed 
with other tribes among whom they have lived. As regards their 
appearance he says: "On trouve chez les Toundjour le teint clair 
des Arabes ('hamer': rouge), mais la nuance 'akhdher' (litt. vert: 
bronze fonce) est la plus repandue. Quelques-uns d'entre eux, assez 
rares d'ailleurs, ont le teint 'azreq' (noir-gris)." 

Their chief, he says, is known as the fougbou, a word of Kanem 
origin 2 . 

Most of them are in Kanem : others are in Bornu and Wadai (Dar 
el Ziud, etc.) and Darfur. M. Carbou scouts the idea that they came 
from the east and has little doubt but that there is good foundation 
for their claim to be connected with the Beni Hilal and to have 
come from Tunis 3 . They do not practise female excision as the Arabs 
and Wadayans do 4 . 

The Tungur of Darfur are mentioned by el Tunisi among the 
minor Sultanates of that country, neighbours of the Birred, living 
between Gedi'd Ras el Fil and Tubeldia 5 . They had "une certaine 
dose de religion et d'intelligence, ce qui les maintient dans les limites 
d'une conduite plus moderee." Unlike the other petty sultans, the 
ruler of the Tungur used to wear a black turban, and he told el Tunisi 
that he did so as a sign of mourning for the glory that had departed 6 . 

As we have seen, in the early days of their predominance in 
Darfur their capital was at Ferra, north-west of Kuttum, near Si, but 
they pushed southwards thence and made Gebel Harayz, south of 
el Fasher, one of their headquarters. Moderately large colonies of 
Tungur still exist both round Kuttum and Harayz. With the exception 
of the indeterminate Tungur-Fur of Furnung they speak Arabic only 
and are known by no other name than Tungur to the various dialect- 
speaking tribes of the country. They are divided into a large number 
of sections, mostly small and negligible, but the following appear to 

1 Voy. au Ouada'i, p. 93. 2 Carbou, I, 82-84 and 167. 

3 Ibid. 11, 17; and I, 73, 74. i Ibid. 11, 17, 22. 

5 Voy. au Darfour, pp. 128, 133. 

6 Ibid. p. 128. The custom does not survive now. 


be the most important. The brands which each most commonly uses 
for its animals are added, but of course many of the subsections use 
variants . 

A. Kirati (the ruling family at Harayz). They use — . 
the brand (a) or (b) and call it (probably by error) the I J 

ankarib ("bedstead"). a, b 

B. Dowlunga (the ruling family at Kuttum). They use . . . 
the dingar {i.e. nugdra or small war-drum) with sticks as in \J \ 
the figure. 

C. Kirwa. They use the tukdi ("reaping J j J j-J— 

knife"), (a), or vary it to (b). They also use (<:). ~T~ 

D. Kurukuri. They use the ankarib, as (a), or as 

(b), but in the latter case call it a nugdra. "T~ 

E. Niminga. They use the brand as shewn. 


F. Um Kadarik. They use the rigl el ghordb ("crows 
foot") in the form shewn. 

G. Sukuri. They use a rigl el ghordb in the form 

H. Waringa. They are said to be a branch of Sukuri. 
The figure shews their brand, which is alleged to represent 
a sword hilt with an extra line for the scabbard. 

J. Ingunga. They are said to be a branch of the Kirati. 


Their brand, round Kuttum, is as in the figure. 

VIII DAGU. One of the most ancient Darfiirian races, one which 
now forms with the Birked and Bayko 1 a distinct, albeit hetero- 
geneous, negroid group in central Darfur, east and south-east of Gebel 
Marra, to the north of the Bakkara country proper, is the Dagu. 

The grounds for any possible identification of these Dagu with 
the Tagua branch of Zaghawa mentioned by Ibn Sa'id as living 
forty days eastwards of Tadmekka, which is in the hilly country 
north of Agades 2 , would be, so far as I am aware, nil, and neither 
Dagu nor Zaghawa lend any support to such theory either by their 
own traditions or by obvious physical characteristics. 

Browne states 3 that he gathered from native tales in Darfur about 
1794, that "The Dageou race came originally from the north, having 

1 For the spelling of these two names see note later under Birked. 

2 See above sub Zaghawa, and Cooley, p. 30. The occasional spelling of Dagu 
as "Tagu" alone leads me to mention the possibility of the identification by error 
of Dagu and Tagua. 

3 p. 280. 


been expelled from that part of Africa now, nominally at least, under 
the dominion of Tunis." This story also has nothing to recommend it. 

Browne refers, too, to an alleged custom practised by the Dagu 
of lighting a fire on the inauguration of their king and keeping it 
burning till his death. A similar custom appears to prevail in Uganda 1 . 

El Tiinisi mentions the Dagu, the Masalit, the Mima, the 
Kashmara and the Kura'an as the five aboriginal tribes of Wadai 2 , 
and of the first-named says : 

Les Dadjo sont au sud du Dar-Seleih [i.e. Waddi], voisins des Koukah. . . 
[ils] sont generalement d'un noir fonce ; leur caractere est encore sauvage. 
lis sont, aux yeux des Ouadayens, ce que sont les Berty aux yeux des 
Foriens [i.e. people of Darfur]. Les Berty sont au nord du For, et les 
Dadjo au sud de Ouaday. 

El Tiinisi here of course refers not to the Dagu of Darfur but to 
those of Dar Sula in southern Wadai. The former group he mentions 
briefly in his book on Darfur as living next the Bayko under a 
tributary "Sultan" of their own 3 . 

Barth speaks of the Dagu as having dominated Darfur in the 
tenth century of Islam and as being called in his time (1849-55) 
"Nas Fara'on" ("Pharaoh's Folk" 4 ). He regarded them as entirely 
different from the Zaghawa and thought they might have come 
from the mountains of Fazoghli south of Sennar. Their traditions lend 
colour to this theory and their customs suggest a Bantu connection. 

Nachtigal (1872), who met the Dagu on the frontier of Darfur 
and Wadai, speaks of them 5 (the western or Sula branch, that is) as 
"black as jet," strongly built, and hideously ugly. As regards their 
state of culture they were nominal Muhammadans with numerous 
pagan beliefs. 

1 Browne, p. 306. A survival of this custom, now forgotten, may lie in the use of 
the word "nar" ("fire") as the equivalent of " sovereignty ": thus it is said that such 
and such a tribe is "in the fire of" ("fi nar") another tribe, meaning it is subject 
to it ; or again that so and so has been appointed " to the fire of" (" ff nar") a tribe, 
meaning he has been made chief over it. When I directly questioned the Dagu as 
to the truth of the story told by Browne, they denied it, but spoke very vaguely 
of some similar custom which, they believed, had prevailed among the Dagu of 
Dar Sula. One man vouched for the fact that Sultan Bakhit Abu Risha of Sula 
(deposed by the French in 1916) had six times caught his slaves (probably Fertit, 
q.v.) lighting some such fire against his wishes and had caused it to be put out. 
Cp. Roscoe in Harvard Afr. Stud. I, 37, 38; and Baganda, pp. 103 and 202. 

2 Voy. au Ouaday, pp. 245, 248. The spelling is taken from the Arabic (q.v. 
pp. 728 ff.). 

3 Voy. au Darfour, pp. 128-138. 

4 Vol. in, Ch. li, p. 426. The Tibbu are called "Nas Fara'on" in the "Tarfkh 
el Khamfs," a native MS. of Wadai (see Carbou, 1, 116). Cp. remarks at the close 
of this chapter. 

8 Voy. au Ouada'i, p. 68. 


They have a shrine for their deity whom they supply very freely with 
merissa, and the ministers of the sanctuary do not fail to profit by this 
lucky fact. They have also a sacred tree which they similarly water with 
merissa, and a holy stone. Death is seldom attributed to natural causes 
or the will of a Supreme Being, but as a rule to the evil eye of a magician 1 . 
If by the help of the Gods and by means of some tricks of magic some of 
these sorcerers are discovered they are massacred without pity, their goods 
are seized, and their households sent in slavery to Wadai. 

The "sacred tree" and the "holy stone" at once recall Bruce's 
description 2 of the Nuba slaves, captives from Daier and Tekali in 
Kordofan, whom the traveller met in Sennar and who adored the 
moon and trees and stones "though I could never find out what tree 
or what stone it was, only that it did not exist in the country of 
Sennar but in that where they were born." But as a matter of fact, 
as has already been noted in dealing with the Berti and the people 
of Midob, this cult is so widespread as to be almost universal in 
Darfur. Some account of its practice by the Fur is also given later. 
With them, as with the Zaghawa it is associated with the idea of 
placating some evil being, generally in the form of a snake, believed 
to live beneath the tree or stone. The spread of Muhammadanism 
has, needless to say, wrenched the ancient superstition from its 
original setting and re-set it in a modified form among the un- 
objectionable, if not quite orthodox, observances of the local True 
Believers; and the latter would never fail to represent their prayers 
as directed to the One God, however much their fears might really 
centre upon the hidden demon known to their forefathers. The 
position, from the point of view of the educated native of Darfur, 
is perhaps expressed most easily by repeating the gist of a dialogue I 
had with the Makdum Sherif, lately the Sultan's viceroy in northern 
Darfur : 

Ques. Have the Zaghawa any holy places in their country ? If so of 
what kind ? 

Ans. Yes, if anyone wants anything, or is undertaking any venture, he 
visits some rock or tree and makes the usual offerings of meat and dihn 
(grease) and voices his appeal. 

Ques. Would any rock or any stone be good enough? 

Ans. No. There are certain definite ones, three or four in Dar 

Ques. To whom does he appeal ? 

Ans. To God, of course. 

Ques. Does he have no local demon also in view? 

1 Cp. Roscoe, Baganda, p. 98. 

2 See Bruce, iv, 420 ft. ; and cp. Roscoe, Baganda, p. 271. 


Ans. Well, there used to be, but nowadays they appeal to God only. 

Ques. Did they adopt this system of holy sites from the Fur? 

Ans. It is general in Darfur. The Dagu and the Birked and the Fur 
and the Zaghawa and Bedayat all do the same, and the practice is prac- 
tically universal except among the Arabs. 

Ques. Is there a medium ? 

Ans. Yes, a woman generally. Her position is hereditary from mother 
to daughter, irrespective of age. Among the Zaghawa she is called the 

Ques. Is there any particular season more favourable than another ? 

Ans. No, but of course at this present season (June) it would be for 
rain most people would be praying and making their offerings. The Dagu 
of Dar Sula make a regular festival of it. The Sultan and his nobles attend 
and all the horsemen, and they place the dihn in front of a hole in a 
certain rock and wait. If the ants — the big black battling ants — come out, 
it is a good sign and all rejoice. If not the prospect is bad. This particular 
system I believe to be confined to Dar Sula. Throughout Darfur it is 
merely a question of making offerings at certain places and praying for 

The Dagu in Darfur live by cultivation and breeding cattle in 
the fertile tracts round Nyala and Takala to the west of Dara. 

They have a hereditary Sultan, tributary to the Sultan of Darfur 
of course, as head man, and his right-hand man is the sambei 
— a sort of president of the tribal sheikhs or damdlig 1 , who does 
most of the work. All the sections of the tribe are subject to the 
sambei's orders except the Sultan's own and one or two others 
closely related to it. The position of the sambei, however, is not 
hereditary, but almost elective. He is chosen by the people from 
among the body of the tribe by a consent that is as near as possible 
unanimous. In theory he can be dismissed by the Sultan, but in 
practice he is secure so long as he commands the confidence of the 

In addition to the main Dagu settlement in Darfur and the colony 
in Dar Sula there are also smaller groups of Dagu in Dar Messina, 
in Kordofan, on the north-west fringes of the Nuba country in what 
are known as the Dagu Hills, and even a few small and scattered 
settlements farther east near el Obeid 2 and, it is said, east of 
Tekali 3 . 

1 In Darfur, even among the Arabs, the tribal elders, the body that chooses 
or deposes the head sheikh that is, are known as "damalig" (sing, "dimlig"). 
See para. XXI to follow. The term is not used elsewhere in the Sudan. For the 
position of the "sambei" among the Dagu cp. that of the "dingar" among the 
Masalft (Para. xvi). The two exactly correspond. 

2 Cp. MacMichael, Tribes..., pp. 51, 52. See also Carbou, 1, 371, and 11, 218-220. 
The Dagu in Kordofan are regarded locally as "Hamegs" or "Nuba" by origin. 

3 These last I have not met and I only heard of them when in Darfur. 


In Darfur the Dagu call themselves Fininga. They are known 
to the Fur as Miringa, to the B irked as Nishigi, and to the Mesalit 
as Bereje. 

In view of Barth's theory, quoted above, that the Dagu may have 
come from south of Sennar, and the evidence of their own traditions, 
is it not possible that there is a connection between the words 
''Fininga" {sing. "Finichei") and "Fung"? It will be noticed that 
the period of Dagu ascendancy in Darfur corresponds to the time 
when the Fung, having founded their kingdom in 1504, were extend- 
ing their power over the neighbouring provinces. 

They perfunctorily claim descent from the Beduin of the Hegaz 
and say that their ancestor, who brought them from Arabia, was a 
certain Kedir who gave his name to the well-known Gebel Kedir 1 , 
one of the Nuba mountains lying west of the upper reaches of the 
White Nile, south of latitude ii°, east of Talodi. From Kedir, they 
say, the Dagu moved westwards, leaving small colonies in Kordofan, 
to Darfur, and there took up their abode. 

The successors of Kedir were in turn Mai, Zalaf, Kamteinyei 2 , 
'Omar, 'Abdullahi Bahur and Ahmad el Dag. Of the first three 
nothing is recorded, but it was 'Omar who finally ejected from the 
Dagu country of the present day the Foroge or Foroke who inhabited 
it previously, and drove them back south-westwards to their original 
home in Dar Fertit 3 . Of Ahmad el Dag is told the story, not peculiar 
to him 4 , that his pride and presumption were such that he was not 
content to ride a horse or any other animal but a tiang, and that his 
mount ran away with him and galloped to Dar Sula, and he was never 
more seen in Darfur. They explain thus the foundation of the western 
colony of Dagu 5 . It is impossible to arrive at any exact date for this 
event, but the Sula colony must have broken away from the main 

1 Gebel Kedir was chosen in 1881 by the Mahdi as the starting point of his 
campaign. He called it Gebel Masa because the Muhammadans believe that the 
true and "Expected" Mahdi will come from a hill named Masa (see MacMichael, 
Tribes..., p. 37). 

2 "Teinyei" means a cow in the language of the Dagu of Darfur and of those 
in Sula. 

3 It may be noted that the Fur are known to the people of Dar Tama by the 
name of Forok. Dar For6ge is shown, on Nachtigal's map, for instance, in Dar 
Abo Dima, north of the Ta'aisha country. El Tunisi (Voy. Darf. p. 134) calls it 
" Dar-Faraougueh." 

4 At Turra I was told practically the same story of the Fur Sultan 'Omar Layla 
("Lele") who died in Wadai in 1739. It was added that whenever "karamas" 
were being offered in memory of the various Sultans, 'Omar's bull invariably gave 
much trouble and refused to be sacrificed though all the rest came quietly to the 

6 The Dagu of Sula call themselves "Koska" instead of "Fininga" as in 



stem some centuries ago since the language of the one is all but 
incomprehensible to the other 1 . 

It is well established that the Dagu were at one time the pre- 
dominant race in central Darfur, the earliest known founders of a 
monarchy there, and that they were supplanted by the Tungur about 
the sixteenth century 2 . The coming of the Tungur resulted in the 
restriction of the Dagu to the districts where they still live. 

The main divisions of the Dagu of Darfur are the following : 

A. To the east — 

Tulindjigerke, the royal house, 

holding the nahds 
Chortinenge, closely related to 



B. Round Nyala and south of it — 






Damboge 3 


The Dagu use either of two brands on their animals, -p |=| 
namely the "kindireV or the " lohonei" The former is 
shaped as (a) and the latter as (b). 


1 The following list of common words collected at random shews the extent 
of the difference. The corresponding words in the Bayko dialect are also added. 


Darfur Dagu 

Sula DAgu 






























































2 Schurtz, p. 544; Slatin, n, Ch. 2. One would, however, be inclined to suppose 
from the authorities that the Dagu (and cp. the case of the Tungur above) ruled 
all Darfur. But it is beyond all doubt that they never held any power in northern 
Darfur (the Tibbu sphere), nor in Gebel Marra nor in the country north-west of 
it (the Fur sphere). They do not even advance any such claim. 

3 Included in this section are the Sambelange" (Sumbinang£?). This name is 
said to be the Dagu form of "Shenabla." They say certain Shenabla at a remote 
period became incorporated among the Dagu. Cp. " Sambangato" among the 
Berti (Para, vi above), and " Sambellanga " among the Tungur- Fur of Furnung 
(App. 5 to this chapter). 


IX BlRKED. The Birked 1 live north and east of the Dago and 
Bayko, between Gebel Harayz and the Rizaykat country, and are a 
much larger tribe than either. They have also a small colony, a day's 
journey north-east of el Fasher, at Turza near Sania Kuldingyi. 
Others are in Wadai, and these el Tunisi called 2 the lowest and most 
despicable of folk, "traitres, brutaux, honte et la plaie 
du Ouaday." "C'est de cette peuplade," he added, "que sortent les 
ouvriers en fer et les chasseurs." He described them as black and 
slim and short. In speaking of the Birked in Darfur he generally 
grouped them with the Tungur, and his opinion of them was that 
they were "traitres, voleurs et rapaces a l'exces, sans crainte de Dieu 
ni du Prophete 3 ." 

Barth merely mentions them 4 ("Birkit") among the negro tribes 
on the Wadai-Darfur frontier. 

Nachtigal says 5 : 

This tribe, composed of the slaves of the Sultan [of Wadai] has remained 
free of all racial admixture. The Birguid are dark grey ("^m fonces"), 
darker than the Mabas, and are of a negro type and have the character 
and customs of the Central Africans, and speak a language entirely peculiar 
to themselves 6 . 

Their main divisions in Darfur at present are as follows : 

Madargarke 7 , the ruling house TuringE" 

Tudduge, said to be HilAliin FileikE" 

Sirindike 'Eraykat , i.e. some "Arab" 

Togonge, said to be HilAliin 'Eraykat living with the Birked 

Kamunga Tongolke 


Kulduke Morolke 

Izmandike Sasulke 

There are also many other less important divisions. The com- 
ponent parts of all are, in the view of other tribes than the Birked, 
largely adulterated by alien elements. 

1 The spelling of " Birked" and " Bayko" is taken from the Arabic of el Tunisi. 
The words are pronounced "Birged" and "Baygo" respectively, and should 
perhaps be so spelt. 

2 Voy. au Ouaday, pp. 249, 250. 3 Voy. an Darfour, pp. 133-136. 
4 in, 543 (App. 7). 5 hoc. cit. p. 67. 

6 They now speak Arabic as well. Their "rotana" is distinct from that of the 
Dagu, etc. See later. 

7 The brand of this section, called after it the Madargarke, is as 
shewn, representing, as a comparison with the royal Fur brand and 

that of the Tungur will show, a war-drum and sticks. It is interesting I I I 

in view of what follows to note that the Serar Bukker ("Cattle Folk") 

at Gebel el Haraza in northern Kordofan also use a brand called " Bayt 

el Nugara," which represents a small round drum and stick, as in the I /*~\ 

figure. (See MacMichael, Camel Brands, p. 34.) I \^S 


In the palmy days of the Darfur Sultanate the Birked country 
was the appanage of the Fur dignitary known as the Urundulu 1 . 
The latter employed four muluk (literally, "kings") as farmers of 
revenue there 2 . The Birked, unlike the Bayko, Dagu, Zaghawa, 
Borku, Mima and Tungur, had, it seems, no " Sultan " of their own 3 , 
and it is stated at the present day that they only had a Shartdi or 
local 'omda at the head of their tribe. Consequently, it may be 
presumed that they had no nahds, and certainly they had no 
wakil or vizier corresponding to the dingar of the Masalit and 
the sambei of the Dagu, but only a number of damdlig subject to 
the Shartdi. 

Their country was known by the name of Kajjar — a term said 
to have included the Dagu and Bayko lands also — and the Birked 
themselves are still known to the Fur as Kajjara, to the Dagu as 
Kagarugei and to the Bayko as Kajarge 4 . They call themselves 

A few Birked live in Kordofan, south of el Obeid, and it is 
traditionally reported in northern Kordofan that about the beginning 
of the eighteenth century they were the ruling people in the hills of 
Kaga and Katul and were ousted thence by the Bedayria 5 . 

The tendency among their neighbours near el Obeid is to class 
the Birked with the Tom am and Tumbab, who are negroid tribes 
with pretensions to a Nubian-Ga'ali connection 6 , as of Hamag or 
Nuba descent. 

Now in collecting a small vocabulary of Birked in Darfur in 19 17 
I found two interesting facts. In the first place, the Birked of Turza 
mentioned that the people to whom they were most nearly related in 
Darfur were those of Gebel Midob ; and in the second place the dialect 
of the Birked in southern Darfur 7 bears an obvious similarity to the 
Nubian and Kanzi vocabularies collected by Burckhardt 8 . These two 
facts transpired quite independently of one another and provide a 
clue to the origin of the Birked. It will be remembered that the 
people of Midob claim to be an ancient colony of Mahass and 

1 See later sub Fur. 

2 El Tunisi, Voy. Darf. p. 137. 

3 Ibid. 138, where no Birked Sultan is mentioned. 

4 Their name probably survives too in that of the great wadi Kajjar (maps 
"Kaga," "Kajja," " Kia," etc.) which runs between Dar Masalit and Wadai. 

5 See MacMichael, Tribes..., p. 66. 

6 See Part III, Chap. 1, and the genealogical trees of the "A" group in Part IV. 

7 The Birked of Tarza only speak Arabic. They say their fathers all spoke a 
"rotana," as the southern Birked still do. The latter are a large tribe, and not a 
small settlement with Arabs living round them as is the case at Tarza. 

8 See Appendix 2 to this chapter. 


Danagla from Nubia and that their language resembles that of the 
Barabra : so it seems that the Birked too found their way into Darfur 
from Nubia. 

Their connection with Midob, the similarity between the names 
"Kajjara" (" Kagarugei," "Kajarge," etc., all meaning Birked) and 
"Kaga" (or "Kaja 1 ") and "Kageddi" (a subtribe of Midob), the 
occurrence of old ironworks 2 at el Haraza between Kaga and Dongola 
coupled with the fact that the Birked of Wadai are ironworkers, and 
the local tradition at Kaga that the Birked once ruled there and at 
Katul 3 , all suggest that it was by way of northern Kordofan that 
the Birked came. 

There are also indications as to the period of their arrival. It has 
been noticed that el Tunisi usually groups the Birked with the 
Tungur and that two of the Birked subtribes call themselves Beni 
Hilal by origin. The traditional connection between the Tungur 
and the Beni Hilal is strong, however difficult it be to define its 
details, and the Birked are evidently implicated in this ethnological 
imbroglio. Since there is no trace of the Tungur having ever spoken 
any tongue but Arabic, whereas the Birked still speak a rotdna as 
well as Arabic, and since the Birked are socially indistinguishable 
from the Dagu, who preceded the Tungur in Darfur, and since the 
Birked have forgotten everything about their Nubian connection 
and are generally regarded as having lived in south-central Darfur 
from time immemorial, whereas it is common knowledge that the 
Tungur immigrated and are not indigenous, it appears likely that 
the Birked reached Darfur before the Tungur immigration. The 
Tungur came in the fifteenth or sixteenth century, and the Birked 
may have left Nubia soon after the dismemberment of the Christian 
kingdom in the fourteenth century, or even earlier. The so-called 
Hilali sections of Birked may be no more than Tungur who joined 
them in Darfur, or may represent Beni Hilal elements who joined 
the Birked in the same manner as others joined the Tungur. 

There is even extant what I believe to be a seventh century 
reference to the Birked ("Kajjara") when they were still in Nubia. 

1 The name of Kaga applies to the broken chain of hills comprising the Gebels 
of Katul, Kaga, Kaga Surrug in north-western Kordofan, and the Lughud hills 
near Gebel el Hilla in Darfur. From it the term Kagawi is formed to denote an 

2 See MacMichael, Tribes..., p. 240. Iron is no longer smelted at el Haraza, 
but was so until a generation ago. I lay no stress on the argument derived from the 
existence of ironworks at el Haraza since such are common in Kordofan and may 
have been due to races other than the Birked. 

3 Curiously enough, in MS. D 1, clxii, it is the Dagu who are grouped with the 
people of Kaga and Katul. 


Immediately after Ibn Selim's account of the Sudan Makn'zi places 
the following passage : 

J'ai vu aussi dans une lettre adressee par certaines tribus a l'emir des 
croyants 'Ali ben Abou Taleb 1 , qu'il etait fait mention des Bedjahs et des 
Kadjahs lesquels sont tres mechants, mais peu pillards 2 . Les Bedjahs sont 
ainsi; quant aux Kadjahs, on n'en connait que ce qu'en dit 'Abdullah ben 
Ahmed l'historien de Nubie 3 . 

'Abdulla ibn Ahmad is Ibn Selim el Aswani, who wrote between 
975 and 996 a.d., but what he had to say about the "Kajjara" we 
do not know because the extracts from his work quoted by el Makrizi 
contain no mention of them. 

X Bayko. The Bayko, neighbours of the Dagu and B irked, are 
said by Slatin 4 to belong to the Monolke family and to have emi- 
grated from the Bahr el Ghazal in ancient days and to have been 
granted lands in Darfur on condition of supplying annually a maiden 
for the royal harem. But the mother of the Sultan Muhammad Fadl 
(1800-1838) was a Baykawia and he, in consequence, declared the 
tribe free for ever, and forbade the buying and selling of them under 
penalty of death. The Bayko at present, as is natural, deny the 
implication of "slave" {i.e. negro) origin and merely point with pride 
to the fact of their intermarriage with Fur royalty. As a tribe they 
do not claim to be Arabs but, as usual in Darfur, the royal house 
of Bayko, the holders of the nahds, the Terkit Haggar section of 
the Subhanin that is, affect a Ga'ali origin. It was one of them, by 
name Um Busa, who married the father of Muhammad Fadl. Of their 
early history the Bayko know little, but the general tradition among 
them is that their ancestors came from the East via southern Kordo- 
fan and the Nuba country at much the same time as the Bakkara. 
The tradition is, however, much too vague to have any real value. 
Browne identified the Bayko ("Bego") too closely with the Dagu in 
speaking of "the people of Bego or Dageou who are now [i.e. 1799] 
subject to the crown of Fur but are a different tribe which formerly 
ruled the country 5 " ; but at the same time the dialects of the Bayko 
and Dagu are almost identical 6 and it is curious that when I asked 

1 The letter must therefore have been written within twenty years of the con- 
quest of Egypt. 

2 Burckhardt translates (p. 509): "Warlike nations who do not make much 
booty." The above quotation is from Bouriant's translation (11, 570). 

3 Burckhardt translates: "But I know not who the Kedja are." * Ch. II. 

5 Browne, p. 285. There is a mention by Ibn Sa'id (ap. Abu el Fida, p. 158) 
of a people called the Bajo, connected with the Zaghawa, and the term puzzled 
Barth (q.v. Vol. in, Ch. Li, p. 426). It is, however, very unlikely that the Bayko 
are meant. 

6 E.g. see examples given above when speaking of the Dagu. 

I. 4. X. 



the present Sultan of the Bayko for his pedigree he traced it (as 
follows) to Ahmed el Dag, whom we have already met as a Dagu 
Sultan : Muhammad " Kebkebe " son of Abukr " Naka " son of 'Omar 
son of Husayn son of 'Ibba son of Nafi' son of Haggar son of Ahmad 
el Dag. At the same time he repudiated all relationship with the 
Dagu and attributed the similarity of dialects to the fact that the 
tribes had long been neighbours in Darfur. 

It seems probable that the Bayko either came to Darfur from 
much the same direction and at much the same period as the Dagu 
— physically the two are indistinguishable — or else that the Dagu 
came from the east and were joined in Darfur by the negroid Bayko 
from the south-east, and that the latter borrowed the language of 
the former but preserved their independence. The Dagu dialect bears 
resemblances to those of Nubia but in this respect falls far behind the 
Birked dialect 1 . 

The status of the Bayko in el Tiinisi's day seems to have been 
much the same as it is now, but little is said of them beyond that 
they were ruled by a petty Sultan of their own 2 . The tribal wakil 
or vizier or President of the Council of Sheikhs (Damdlig), the 
sambei of the Dagu, is among the Bayko called the gindi (plur. 
genddi). His chief function, outside the sphere of administration, 
is said to be that of performing the accession ceremony 3 for a newly 
succeeded Sultan. 

Of the subdivisions of the Bayko, once very numerous, only a 
few are now remembered. These fall into the two main groups of 
Subhanin ("Easterners") and Gharbanm 4 ("Westerners") and 
include the following : 

Tirkit Haggar 5 (the royal house) Tirkit Marshut 5 
Korobaiki 5 Famaki 5 

1 E.g.— 



mouth ikunga 

Dagu of 





or kakine 

of Sula 



From Burckhardt's Nubia 
















The percentage of Birked words that resemble Nubian words is a good hundred 
per cent, higher, I should say, than in the case of Dagu or Bayko words. The 
numerals of the latter, for instance, differ entirely from those of Nubia. 

2 El Tunisi, Voy. Darf. pp. 128, 134, 138. 

3 "Yadarrag" =(Ar.) "gives rank to " The Sultan himself was my informant 

on the point. 

4 The Bayko cannot pronounce the Arabic "gh," so they call this group the 
" Harbanin." 

5 These are Subhanfn. 

m.s 1. 





Nyogolgole 1 Mahange" 

Kalakalika 1 

Outside Darfur there are said to be many Bayko, with Dagu, 
between Tekali and the White Nile in Dar Kebi'r, and a considerable 
colony of Nyogolgole are said to have lived for many generations at 
Kafiakingi in the Bahr el Ghazal 2 . 

The Bayko call themselves Beoge. To the Fur they are known 
as Begonga, to the Tama as Begukung, to the Dagu as Beoge, and 
to the B irked as Beke. 

XI There are also in Darfur several tribes of distinctively western 
origin, Fellata, Takarir, "Borku," "Bornu," Mima, "Abu 
Sinun," and Mararit. Of these the Mima are the oldest colony. 


The town of Mima is mentioned by Ibn Batuta in the middle of 
the fourteenth century as lying not far to the west of Timbuktu : of 
the latter town the traveller remarks "most of its inhabitants are 
people of Mima, or of the tribes called el Mulaththamun 3 " {i.e. the 
Veiled Ones, the Tuwarek Berber). 

Apparently they, or a branch of them, subsequently moved east- 
wards. El Tunisi says of them in 1803 : 

Les Mymeh constituent une population qui se compose de plusieurs 
tribus divisees en fractions. lis sont d'un noir fonce comme de l'encre. 
lis habitent au sud direct du Ouaday, sur la meme ligne que les Dadjo 
et les Koukah 4 . 

He also alludes to a branch of them as under a tributary Sultan in 
Darfur 5 . Nachtigal mentions them as a large tribe in Wadai, but 
most of them had scattered in the south of that country and lost their 
racial identity. The rest of them preserved their language, which was 
akin to that of the Zaghawa and the Kura'an, and had a melik 
of their own 6 . Their social reputation was, like that of the Zaghawa, 
unsavoury, and they had largely intermarried with that tribe. 

1 These are Gharbanin and can be referred to as "genadi," i.e. sections subject 
to the " gindi." 

2 Their headman is spoken of as "Makdum Nasir." 

3 See Cooley, pp. 45, 84, 86. Older writers than Ibn Batuta used the form 

4 Voy. au Ouaday, p. 249. 

5 Voy. au Darfour, pp. 128, 138, 297. These were at feud with the Beni 'Omran 

6 Voy. au Ouada'i, pp. 65, 74, 75; and cp. Carbou, II, 199; the latter calls them 
" Mimi ou Moutoutou." 


At present there is a colony of Mima round Fafa and Wada'a in 
Darfur, another in Abu Daza district on the western border of 
Kordofan, and a third at Magriir north of Bara in central Kordofan. 
As a rule they are a very dark coarse-featured folk and, like all the 
"Borku" group, have more hair on their faces than is usual among 
the northern negroid tribes of the Sudan. The main subdivisions of 
the Mima in Darfur and Kordofan are: 

Nunku (the "1 

royal family") 





Mahadi 1 









All are Arabic-speaking. 

XII MARARfT. The Mararit 2 and Abu Sinun are small colonies 
of "Borku" origin near the western frontier of Darfur, but nothing 
is known of the date when they settled there. The former people are 
settled among the Erenga and the Masalit. The Borku proper, 
i.e. Wadaians, and Bornu have many settlements in eastern and 
central Darfur but most of these date from no more than a few 
years back and owe their existence to the French occupation of 
Wadai. Others of course, like the Takarir 3 settled in Kordofan 
and eastern Darfur, have been for several generations in their present 

XIII FellAta. The Fellata are very largely represented in 
Darfur, and though some of them have only entered the country 
within recent generations the majority have been there for a con- 
siderable time. Their main period of immigration is said to have been 
during the reign of Sultan Ahmad Bukr, that is towards the end of 
the seventeenth century 4 . They have a ddr of their own at the 
south end of Gebel Marra and have intermarried freely with the 
Bakkara Arabs. Some are sedentary and these are the more recent 
arrivals, intending pilgrims for the most part, but the majority are 
cattle-owning nomads, as in West Africa, living under a regular 

1 These Mahadi or Mahada call themselves Arabs, but, if so, are a very debased 
form of the same. They are not found as a tribe anywhere, but only as sections 
of other communities. Some are among the Masalft and others among the Hab- 
bania of Darfur and other Bakkara. 

2 Sing. " Mararti." 

3 Sing. Takruri. For this term see el Tunisi, Voy. au Ouaddy, p. 6. 

4 So Nachtigal, quoted by Ensor (p. 145). 


tribal organization, speaking Arabic, and divided into two main 
groups, the 'Ibba and the 'Ikka 1 . 

There remain the western frontier tribes, the slave tribes, and 
the Fur themselves. 

To take these in turn: 
XIV KlMR. Dar Kimr lies north of the Masalit country and east 
of Dar Tama. To the north and east of it is open country sparsely 
populated by nomadic Zaghawa of the Kubbe and Kubga sections. 
It is a small tract, poor in natural resources, sandy in parts and stony 
in others, and its people live by cultivating dukhn and breeding 
sheep and cattle. The water supply is moderate. Iron is plentiful, 
especially at Babiri. 

The population claims to be Arab, Ga'aliin from Metemma by 
origin, but, beyond the fact that it is Arabic-speaking (with the 
exception only of the Abu Jokha section, who speak Tama) and has 
no dialect of its own, there is no reason to think the claim has much 
to recommend it. 

The name Kimr, like the name Ermbeli, which is used in place 
of it in Wadai, means "dove 2 ," and there are variant traditions that 
the Kimr were the original inhabitants of Dars Tama and Masalit 3 
or, as the Fur say, that they were once Temurka (Fur) who could 
change themselves into doves. 

The Fur call the Kimr "Orang-a," the Tama and the Dagu 
call them "Gimruk" and "Gumerke" respectively. Not being a 
warlike people they have suffered much at the hands of the more 
rapacious Zaghawa, Masalit and Fur 4 . 

Politically they formed a part of the Darfur Sultanate, save in so 
far as they could maintain their independence, and from time 
immemorial they have had a petty Sultan of their own. 

Their main subdivisions are : 

iggi (the ruling section) 

2. Abu Jokha 

(a) dhurriat Tahir 

(a) Effere 

(b) „ Husayn 

(b) Showa 

(c) „ Nakhit 

(c) Ligam 

(d) „ Bulad 

(e) „ Musa 

(/) „ Harot 

1 El Tunisi (Voy. au Darfour, pp. 129, 134, etc.) speaks of those south of Marra 
as " Foullan," by which name they are known to the Arabs and Hausa in West 
Africa. The Kanuri call them Fellata. To ethnologists they are commonly known 
as Fulbe or Ful or "Poul": see Barth, Vol. iv, Ch. lvii, p. 143. In the Sudan the 
term Fellata is loosely used to cover the Hausa also. 

2 The Arabic is i£j^3. 3 Cp. Nachtigal, ap. Carbou, II, 215. 

4 Cp. Carbou, II, 204, 205; Nachtigal, Voy. au Ouadai, p. 73. 




















3 . KURBU 

(a) Gidayrnuk 

(b) Ownga 

(c) Sabir 

(d) Rimayla 

4. Luk 

(a) Awlad Haggar 

(b) ,, Sikin 

(c) „ Meddi 

(d) „ Kera'a 

XV TAMA. Dar Tama, lying to the west of Dar Kimr, on the 
Wadai border, is more fertile and more thickly populated than either 
Masalit or Kimr. It has always been a bone of contention between 
the Sultans of Wadai and Darfur and has been temporarily subjected 
by both at different times. At other times it has preserved a measure 
of independence, and it has always had a Sultan of its own. 

Its people are spoken of by Matteucci 1 as "de taille elevee (pres 
de i m , 80), tete brachycephale (350), angle facial tres ouvert (81 °)," 
and Nachtigal saw in them a close resemblance to the Dagu (of Sula, 
presumably), a mixture of whom with earlier Kimr inhabitants they 
may represent 2 . 

Nachtigal says their dialect is similar to that of the Sungur of 
Wadai and of the Dagu and the Birked 3 , but it is more than doubtful 
whether, in the case of the last two peoples mentioned, he was right. 
Their dialect is quite distinct in vocabulary from any Darfur tongue, 
if one except only that of the Erenga of Dar Masah't. 

XVI MasAlit. The Masalit 4 country is 7000 to 7500 square 
miles in extent and is bounded to the west by Wadai, to the south 
by Dar Sula, to the north by Dars Tama and Kimr, and to the east 
by the Fur. The central districts are undulating and sandy with 
numerous small rocky outcrops; the south is mountainous. The 
northern districts, those of the Erenga and Gebel Mun, are more 
stony and unfertile : they will be dealt with separately in the following 
section. The great wddis Bare and Kajja, on the east and west 
respectively, provide an excellent water supply at a shallow depth, 
and deeper wells, giving a more precarious supply, are also dug 
inland from these two arteries. 

1 See Carbou, II, 207. 

2 See Carbou, II, 205. 

3 Voy. au Ouada'i, pp. 66, 69, 74. Perhaps the Sungur are to be identified 
with the Asung'ur branch of Erenga (q.v. later). The Tama dialect and that of the 
Erenga are practically identical. 

* They call themselves Masalat as a rule, but are usually known to others as 
Masalit. The Tama call them Masarak. 


The population is fairly numerous in the central districts and is 
socially on about the same plane as that of eastern Darfur. In the 
south it is more numerous and less civilized. Cattle and sheep form 
the chief wealth of the Masalit, and dukhn is their staple food 
product. Iron is found in plenty throughout the country. On the 
whole, however, Dar Masalit is distinctly a poor country, and, but 
for the trade-route from Abesha to el Fasher which bisects it, would 
be a mere backwater. 

Like Dar Tama it has always been a bone of contention as 
between Wadai and Darfur, but the former power never held any 
rights in it and merely made occasional attacks on it as being the 
nearest part of Darfur. 

Previous to the Egyptian conquest of Darfur Dar Masalit was 
a part of the western district and subject to the viceroy {makdum) 
of the west. The Erenga and Mun districts in the north were 
counted a part of the Fur district of Madi, the Masalit living 
east of Wadi Bare were under Kerne, and all the rest was a part of 
Fia and subject to the Shartdi of that district. At this period, 
whereas the Kimr (also under Madi) and two sections of Erenga 
had petty Sultans, the Masalit had only firrash {sing, fersh) — 
who are dignitaries of distinctly lower rank and less importance than 

It was only in the Dervish days that a single Masalati amir 
united under his rule the Erenga, Mun and Masalit, and not until 
the close of the Dervish days that he assumed the title of Sultan and 
claimed complete independence. At present the firrash of the 
various Erenga and Mun groups, and the Shartdi who is over 
the former, are all placed in subjection to a makdum of the 
Masalit Sultan, and this viceroy is simply a mamluk, an old 
Dinka slave who has attained to a position of the highest trust. The 
various Masalit sections are allotted as appanages to members of 
the royal family or state functionaries and administered on feudal 
lines. The Sultan is of course supreme over all. To assist the firrash 
(in the case of Masalit, Erenga and Mun alike) there is a body of 
damdlig 1 . 

In Fur days, they say in Dar Masalit, each fersh had also a 
sambei or chief executive officer and representative, attached to 
him, as was also the custom in the case of the Sultan of the Dagu ; 
but since the chief fersh of the Masalit has become a " Sultan," this 
has been dropped. 

1 See p. 74. 


The following are the chief sub-tribes of Masalit : 



Dagu {i.e. colonists from 



Dar Sula, no doubt) 







Mararit 1 






All speak the same language, which is distinct from any Darfur 
dialect and said to belong to the same group as that of the Mabas 
of the west 2 . They claim a vague descent from Arabs of the Beni 
Khuzam and Messiria (Bakkara both), but are obviously more than 
half negroes, with the slightest Arab leaven 3 . 

They are a warlike people of fairly good physique and intelli- 
gence, but they are regarded askance by the Darfur and Kordofan 
tribes owing to the power of metamorphosis, chiefly into hyaenas, 
which they are believed to possess 4 . 

Nachtigal reported them very "priest-ridden" and fanatical and 
widely suspected of cannibalism. Nor was the charge entirely 
unfounded, for the Masalit have themselves admitted to me, 
though only with regard to the Um Bus section, who have the dis- 
tinction of becoming ghouls after death and emerging as "shadows 
of the dead" from the tombs to prey upon the unwary, that they 
believe that by eating raw the entrails of their slain foes, they gain 
courage and eliminate soft-heartedness. 

Slatin was also told that they were accustomed to use the skins 
of their slain enemies as waterskins and their headman, the fersh 
Haggam, admitted that the custom "had once" existed 5 . 

At the present day most of these horrible customs have fallen 
into disuse, but the people speak of them as having flourished "once, 
in the days of Haggam"! 

In addition to these Masalit of the border-state there is a 
considerable independent colony of Masalit in southern Darfur on 
the northern borders of the Habbania (Bakkara) country, who have 
been there for something over a century and a half. 

1 See p. 83. 

2 Nachtigal, Voy. au Ouada'i, pp. 66, 76. Cp. Barth, in, App. 7, p. 542. A 
few words of the Masalrt vocabulary, as a guide, are given in Appendix 4 to this 

3 There are a few small encampments of Mahamid, Tergam, Ta'elba, Darok, 
and Mahada in Dar Masalit (for all of whom see Part III), but these seem to keep 
quite distinct from the native Masalit. 

4 Cp. pp. 84 and 103, and see Robertson Smith, p. 203, re totemism in Arabia. 
6 Slatin, Fire and Sword..., Ch. in. 


In el Tunisi's day they were under four "kings" {i.e. meks) 
and their country formed a part of Dar Abo Uma 1 . 

At the present day they are ruled by a petty Sultan with a nahds, 
but the administration appears to be, in fact, in the hands of the 
wakil, or dingar — a term denoting properly a small drum (nugdra) 
of wood, but generally applied to the melik or fersh who holds the 
same. The Sultan conducts business and issues orders through the 
dingar, who is, in fact, a sort of vizier. 

The royal section, that of the nahds, among this southern 
Darfur colony is the Serbung, which is subdivided into Sugurbo, 
Kunderung, Kaidung, Bialung and other subsections; but the 
remaining subsections are reckoned as belonging to the dingar: 
the chief of these are : 

Mungare Umbertchung Gunkung Awnung 

Umbus Fokanyung Merkerinn 

The dialect spoken is the same as that of the western Masalit, but 
the tradition current as to the origin of the tribe is different. The 
colony in southern Darfur state that their ancestors came from the 
Yemen via northern Darfur. The fact is that neither division of the 
tribe has the remotest idea where it came from and each hazards 
a guess to which little attention need be paid. 

In addition to the two main settlements described there are some 
Masalit in Wadai, and others in Darfur in the districts south-west 
of el Fasher, namely Dobo, Tawila, Gebel Harayz, etc., living among 
and intermarried with the Fur and Tungur. Their parents were 
mostly prisoners of war deposited here and there as colonists by the 
Fur Sultans. 

XVII Erenga and Mun. These two peoples have already been 
spoken of as living in the northern part of what is now Dar Masalit. 
The language of both is alike and to all intents and purposes is the 
same language as that spoken in Dar Tama. 

The Mun, or Mul, are a very small community and have not 
more than sixty odd villages. The Erenga are considerably more 
numerous. They call themselves Birrung, but every other tribe calls 
them Erenga 2 . The Mun are called Mun or Ahl el Gebel by Arabic- 
speaking people, and Jebarok {i.e. Jebalok) by the Erenga, and 
Mun or Jebalta by the Masalit. 

1 El Tunisi, Voy. au Darfour, pp. 136, 137. See p. 98 and note on p. 95. 

2 I do not know the origin of the word, but "Eringe" is the Masalit word for 
"Arabs." It may be, and probably is, pure coincidence that "erunga" is the 
family name of the snake people at Tira el Akhdar in southern Dar Nuba (see 
Seligman, Art. " Nuba "), and that the Erenga word for " rain " (or " sky ") is " arr," 
while at Dilling (northern Dar Nuba) "rain" is "ara," and at Midob it is "arri. 

■ >> 


The main subdivisions of the Erenga are the following: 



The Owra and Mararit have "Sultans" of their own: the rest only 
fir rash. 

XVIII HadAhId. Scattered here and there in Darfur, but particu- 
larly in the neighbourhood of the Tama and Masalit border are 
small colonies of Hadahi'd (or "Hadadfn"), that is, "Blacksmiths." 
These have been in the country for many generations and have come 
to be looked on, in some cases, — rightly or wrongly — as Fur; but 
most of them certainly originate from Wadai or west of it and, when 
asked, say so. As is usual in north-central Africa from east to west 
they are held in general contempt and the rest of the population do 
not intermarry with them. This feeling of aversion towards the 
workers in iron is strongest among the Zaghawa, who so far from 
intermarrying with them would not eat or associate with them. They 
are a hereditary caste and are called Miro {sing, mir) by the Fur. 
From casual remarks of contempt that I have heard used in speaking 
of them I should say that it was not so much to their dealing with 
iron that they owe their inherited unpopularity as to their employ- 
ment of fire for the purpose 2 . 

XIX "Slave" Tribes. The "slave" tribes of Darfur may be 
divided into two groups; firstly, colonies of negroes from outside 
Darfur imported by successive Sultans en bloc and settled on the 
land during the last century or two, but particularly by the Sultan 

1 See p. 83. There are also Mararit among the Masalit proper. 

2 Nachtigal (Voy. au Ouadai, pp. 80-81) records the contempt with which the 
blacksmith is held in Bornu, Wadai and Darfur "and in general among all the 
Tibu tibes" and that in Wadai no one would think of marrying one of their women 
or eat from the same plate as a blacksmith. The "Sultan of the Hadadfn" is there 
a kind of carnival king. Thus, too, in Darfur 'Ali Dinar contemptuously appointed 
as "Sultan of the Hadadin" a rival to the Sultanate whom he overthrew as a 
preliminary to his own succession. 

Compare Carbou, 1, p. 49 et seq. and 209: " Hadddd chez les Arabes, dogod 
chez les Kanembou, azd chez les Toubou, noegue chez les Boulala, Kabartou chez 

les Ouadai'ens, les forgerons sont toujours profondement meprises " In Kanem 

the majority of the workers-in-iron are of Tibbu-Kura'an origin. 

So, too, in the east: cp. Bent, p. 212. "The Blacksmith in Abyssinia is looked 
upon with mingled dread and superstition... he is supposed to have the power of 
turning himself into a hyaena and committing ravages on his enemies." 

Compare the following from "The Pre-Bantu Occupants of East Africa" 
(Beech), in Man, March, 1915: The ancient population of the Kikuyu country in 
East Africa are reputed to have been cannibal dwarfs called Maithoachiana. These 
latter, according to the District Commissioner of Fort Hall, " appear to be a variety 

of earth-gnomes with many of the usual attributes Like earth-gnomes in most 

folklore, they are skilled in the art of iron-working. ...It is a Kikuyu insult to say 
'You are the son of a Maithoachiana.'" 


Tirab towards the end of the eighteenth century ; secondly, negroes 
whose home, so far as is known, has always been in Darfur. Apart 
from these two groups, of course, innumerable Dinka, Fertit, 
Nuba, Niam-Niam and negroes of various other Bahr el Ghazal 
tribes have been imported singly or in small batches into Darfur as 
slaves, their families broken up, and their wives and daughters used 
to breed children for their captors from the earliest period to the 
present; but of these it is unnecessary to say more at this juncture. 

To the first of the two groups specified belong such people as the 
Turug, who are by origin Nuba from Gebel Tekali in Kordofan, 
imported by the Sultan Tirab, the 'Abi'dia round Kebkebi'a and 
Kuttum, who were slaves of Kordofan tribes imported by the same 
monarch, and the Dadinga 1 , who are said to have been in Bornu, 
their true home, until about two hundred years ago and to have 
sojourned awhile in Dar Tama prior to their removal to Darfur. 

The second group is in the extreme south and falls partly within 
Darfur and the Bahr el Ghazal Province and partly in French 
Equatorial Africa. Among these, in Darfur, to the east are the 
Mandala (or Bandala) and the Shatt, living in the Rizaykat 
country and the northern Bahr el Ghazal, and to the west a certain 
number of Kara, Binga, Banda, Dayga (Digga), Foroke, Funkur, 
etc. This latter congeries, however, has its main habitat in the 
western Bahr el Ghazal and in the French sphere to the west of it. 
It is commonly known by the vague generic term of Fertit, but I 
believe that the negroes themselves who compose it distinguish 
between a western division, all speaking dialects of the same tongue 
and consisting of Kara, Sara, Gula, Medi, Koio, Vor, Dudu, 
Binga, Runga and Feri and known in general as " Yer," and a loose 
eastern group of "Fertit" consisting of Digga, Bea, Keraysh, 
Shayre, Bongo, Belunda, etc. To the Arabs, of course, all alike are 
"slaves " who have been raided by themselves from time immemorial, 
and the name of "Fertit" in common parlance embraces all or any 
of them. They appear to belong to the Bantu family. 

Now in Darfur tradition relates sometimes that the original 
habitat of these Fertit was in Gebel Marra and that the Fur race 
is no more than a conglomerate body composed of them; or some- 
times — a more probable theory — that the aboriginal Fur were a 
distinct race though it has amalgamated with the Fertit tribes in 

1 Their brand, or rather that of their chief, the Melik Mahmud 
el Dadingawi, the most generally respected man in Darfur in 'Ali 
Dinar's time and one of his chief councillors and commanders, is as 
(a). Others use such variants as (b). Compare the Fur brand (p. 95). 



the districts lying west and south of Gebel Marra, and even in the 
Gebel itself, and as far north as Gebel Si 1 . 

XX FUR. The Fur, from whom, whatever their origin, Darfur 
takes its name 2 , form at the present day the most numerous part of 
the sedentary population in its western half, and they are well 
represented in all but the open rolling sandy country, some 130 
miles across, which marches with Kordofan. 

There is no doubt that the cradle and the stronghold of their 
race is the vast range of Gebel Marra, the main watershed of Darfur. 
They are still its sole inhabitants from its southern extremity to 
Gebel Si in the north. Now the Fur of Gebel Marra and Si and the 
Fur of the west, in fact the Fur in general with the exception of the 
Kungara branch, are socially, physically and intellectually inferior 
to the average of the tribes who are their neighbours to the east and 
north. But it is the Kungara whose virility has preserved to the 
race the predominance which was gained some three centuries ago 
by their ancestors, and this superiority of the Kungara is evidently 
due to an Arab strain which they have acquired. They are, generally 
speaking, a people of better physique and higher intelligence, and 
in their habits more cleanly, than the common Fur, and they are 
much better Muhammadans. Most of them now live east of the 
mountains, though many of the debased Fur in the south and west 
lay claim to be wholly or half Kungara. For the maintenance of 
their power from the beginning of the seventeenth century the 
Kungara Fur have relied very largely on the brute force of a slave 
army, but their main asset has been the Arab cross in their blood 
which has given them the qualities of leadership. An extra measure 
of prestige has been theirs on account of the traditional connection 
of their royal house, the Kayra, on the distaff side, with the Beni 
'Abbas and the Beni Hilal. 

The facts as usually given, though with many discrepancies, are, 
briefly, that all the Fur were living in Gebel Marra (including Turra, 

1 There is a section of "Fur" in Gebel Si called Karanga, i.e. "Kara folk," 
who admit their Kara (Fertft) origin. A Fur custom which savours of the negroes 
of the Bahr el Ghazal is that of spitting three times on the head by way of expressing 
a blessing. This was done to me by Feki Bahr el Din, the oldest Fur in Gebel 
Marra, aged 120, in return for a much desired concession. It was said to exemplify 
the scattering of cool water on the hot fires of vitality in order to preserve the 
latter for as long as possible. For the Fertit tradition, too, cp. ABC, xxiii. 

2 The Fur call themselves Furakang (sing. Furdongo). The Dagu of Darfur 
call them Onage (sing. Wadache), the Dagu of Sula call them Yarge, the Birked 
call them Kadirgi. To the people of Tama they are known as Forok, to the Masalit 
as Furta, to the Zaghawa as Korra, and to the Midob people as_Kurka. The Fertit 
tribes also have different names for them : to the Digga they are Ura (i.e. "slaves"), 
to the Banda they are Poro, to the Sara they are Dum, to the Kara they are Dala 
and to the Gula they are Lali. 


Si, etc.) and the hills south-west and west of it in a state of savagery 
until some Beni Hilal Arabs under Ahmad el Ma'akur, a descendant 
of Abu Zayd el Hilali who was himself descended from the Beni 
'Abbas 1 , came to these parts. It was a descendant of this Ahmad 
named Sulayman and surnamed Solong — the word Solonga means 
Arab in the Fur tongue — who finally established an overlordship 
over the Fur and welded them into a single political unit and became 
ancestor of the royal line 2 . He and his son Musa ruled from Turra, 

1 This is, of course, impossible. The Beni 'Abbas have no connection with the 
Beni Hilal (see Part II, Chap. i). 

2 As being "Beni 'Abbas" they claim a kind of kinship with the Ga'aliin, and 
" Idris Ga'al" or "Edrisdjal" appears as paternal grandfather of Sulayman Solong 
(see Nachtigal, ap. Helmolt, World's History, p. 585). The same Ga'ali connection 
is implied in the tradition that Sulayman was "son of a Temurki [Fur] and an 
Arab woman of the tribe of Bedayrfa of Kordofan" (Escayrac de Lauture, Bull. 
Soc. Geogr. Aug.-Sept. 1855, p. 79), the Bedayria being generally reckoned Ga'aliin 
of a sort. A similar claim is also preferred in the case of most of the African 
kingdoms west of Darfur. For instance, in Wadai, a Ga'ali from Shendi — a 
soi-disant 'Abbasi that is — by name 'Abd el Kerfrn ibn "Yame" (the "Gama'i" 
of the Ga'aliin pedigrees, ancestor of the Gawama'a) is the traditional ancestor 
(see Nachtigal, Voy. au Ouadai, pp. 70 and 93 ; and Part III, Chap. 1 on the Ga'aliin- 
Danagla group). 

The details of Sulayman Solong's ancestry are extremely vague and various. 
I have generally heard him spoken of as an Arab of the Beni Hilal who married a 
Fur princess. He sometimes appears as a son of Ahmad el Ma'akur, and some- 
times as descended from him in the second or third or more distant generation. 
His mother is variously reported as an Arab or a woman of the Masalft, but there 
is no sort of agreement about him beyond the fact that he was "an Arab" and con- 
nected with the Fur by marriage. Both the Fur (Kungara) and the Tungur, while 
admitting they are entirely different from one another in race, claim to be descended 
from Ahmad el Ma'akur of the Beni Hilal; but the fact is likely to be that a 
combination of Fur and Arab (the Kayra section), reminding one of that of 
the Bega and Arab in the eastern Sudan, intermarried with the Tungur as a 
preliminary to succeeding them in northern and eastern Darfur at the end 
of the sixteenth century. Dr Helmolt's tree, q.v. The World's History, p. 585, 
based on Nachtigal's and Slatin's accounts, shews " Fora," a daughter of the Kayra 
chieftain, married (a) to the father of Shau Dorshfd, the last of the Tungur Sultans 
of Si (for whom see p. 67), and (b) to Ahmad el Ma'akur the "ancestor of the 
Tungur in Darfur." To her first husband she bore Shau and to her second Dali, 
the ancestor of Sulayman Solong. To pursue the matter in detail is a waste of time, 
and all that one need note is the existence of an ancient Fur stock, connected on 
the one hand with the Islamic Arabs and, on the other, with the Tungur. 

That the succession was matrilinear is also obvious. As each dynasty succeeds 
the last, tradition seldom fails to marry the founder of the new dynasty to the 
daughter of the last representative of the old. This system maintained in Egypt 
under the early New Kingdom, and almost certainly before, and in the Ptolemaic era 
(see Murray, "Royal Marriages and Matrilinear Descent" in Journ. Roy. Anthrop. 
Inst, xlv, 191 5), among the Bega and in the Christian kingdom of Dongola. We 
shall see, too, how the Arabs, to whom the practice had been familiar in Arabia, 
readily adopted it for their own purposes when they conquered Dongola, and how it 
was in vogue among the Berber princes round Asben in the fourteenth century. 
Fuller details and references will be found in a note to Part II, Chap. 2, xxxiii. 

So, too, Barth (11, 273) says: "The Kaniiri even at the present day call people 
in general, but principally their kings, always after the name of their mother, and 
the name of the mother's tribe is almost continually added in the chronicle as a 


between Marra proper and Si 1 . The aboriginal population, both 
here and in Gebel Si, is fabled to have been "To Ra" but no more 
is known of them and they are not differentiated by tradition in any 
way from the original Fur 2 . 

Towards the end of the seventeenth century the Fur were 
sufficiently powerful to leave the mountains. The Musaba'at, a 
branch of the Kungara, had already found their way into Kordofan 3 , 
and the royal capital of the other Fur was now set up near Tina in 
the fertile country at the eastern foot of the Turra range. From here 
the Fur not only subdued all eastern Darfur but by the second half 
of the eighteenth century Tirab had overrun Kordofan, crushed the 

circumstance of the greatest importance." Again, in Bakirmi, Barth says (in, 453): 
" The mother of the Sultan, or the ' Kufi-banga,' is greatly respected, but without 
possessing such paramount authority as we have seen to have been the case with 
the 'magira' in Bornu, and as we shall find exercised by the Moma in Waday." 

A relic of the same idea no doubt survives in the official position of dignity 
until lately enjoyed by the grandmothers of the Sultan of Darfur and in particular the 
maternal grandmother. El'Tunisi says (Voy.auDarf our, p. 184) on this subject: "Sile 
sultan regnant a encore son mere et sa grand'mere, elles ont chacune un rang; 
bien entendu, ce rang n 'est pas une dignite toujours presente dans 1'F.tat; il meurt 
avec celles qui en sont revetues." 

Thus the Tungur, in claiming Ahmad el Ma'akur as their ancestor, marry him 
to the daughter of the last Dagu Sultan, the Dagu having been predominant until 
the coming of the Tungur; and Sulayman Solong is allotted an Arab mother 
(Slatin, Ch. 11). Similarly, the Musaba'at, calling Ahmad el Ma'akur a Hilali, 
marry him to the daughter of the last Tungur Sultan (see MacMichael, Tribes..., 
p. 56), and the Dagu of Darfur agree with them in this tradition. 

1 Turra is part of the same range as Marra. It is the burial-place of the Darfur 
Sultans and there stand the tombs of Sulayman, Musa, Ahmad Bukr, Muhammad 
Dowra, Abu el Kasim, Tirab, 'Abd el Rahman el Rashid, Muhammad Fadl and 
Husayn. They were rebuilt by 'AH Dinar about 19 10 in red brick with grass roofs 
in place of the old stone and mud edifices. The graves of Sulayman and Musa 
his son are in a single tomb standing alone to the north of the rest. 'Abd el Rahman, 
Muhammad Fadl and Husayn have a single large tomb. The others have each a 
separate tomb. The five tombs containing Musa's successors are side by side in 
a single walled enclosure. Near by the tomb of Sulayman and Musa is a large 
stone mosque built by the Sultan Ahmad Bukr (1 682-1 722) which is still in good 
repair but for the roof. There is a similar mosque called "Gama'i Kurro"near 
Buldang, between Kebkebia and Kulkul to the north-west of Marra. This is said 
to have been built by Abu el Kasim (1739-52) and is a large well-made construction 
of red bricks, morticed with earth and slips of stone and having arched doorways 
and windows. 

2 The people of Turra say the To Ra were called after the giant lizard or 
"monitor" (Ar. "wiril," or "warana"), called "to" in Fur dialect. Its scientific 
name is Varanus Niloticus. The same name "to" or "tow" occurs also as the 
nickname of the present "Shartai" of the Birked. 

3 For the various accounts of their secession see MacMichael, Tribes..., pp. 60- 
62. The name of Tonsam, the traditional Musaba'at ancestor and (generally) uncle 
of Sulayman Solong, survives in Tunsum, or Tulzum as it is now called, a site 
in the hills between Turra and Tina. The Musaba'at in Kordofan have twisted 
"Tonsam" into "Muhammad Tumsah." Practically all accounts, though differing 
in details, date the Musaba'at secession from the time of Sulayman Solong. The 
name "Musaba'at" is derived from "sobaha," "to go east." The Arabic h is 
commonly dropped by the Fur and the s weakened to s. 


secessionist Musaba'at, and advanced as far east as the Nile, to 
Omdurman and Shendi 1 . After such achievements it was the natural 
course to found a capital in a more central position and 'Abd el 
Rahman el Rashid (i 785-1 799) chose el Fasher, which is two days' 
journey east of the Marra range in a sandy open country suitable 
for cultivation and endowed with a good supply of water. Thus the 
more civilized members of the race, Kungara for the most part, 
left the rough and rocky fastnesses of the hills and the broken country 
beyond to their ruder and more savage brethren of the other branches 
of the Fur. 

El Tunisi 2 correctly divides the race into Kungara, Karakiri't 
and Temurka. Roughly speaking, the first named are in the east, 
though they are to be found intermarried with other Fur in the west. 
The Karakiri't are properly the people of Gebel Si, and the Te- 
murka are in the south-west beyond Gebel Marra. But, as a matter 
of fact, no exact lines can be drawn between the three groups, and 
elements of the first in particular are scattered far afield. Even 
though there may be an original substratum which is of distinctively 
"Fur" origin, there are the traditional grounds quoted for sup- 
posing that the various Fertit tribes have become grafted upon this 
stem to such an extent that the Fur of the present have quite as 
large an element of Fertit in their composition as of true Fur. 

It is at once obvious as one travels in Darfur and enquires as to 
the inter-relationships and groupings of the Fur that their sub- 
divisions, apart, perhaps, from the main groups of Kungara, Kara- 
kiri't and Temurka, are local or totemistic in origin rather than 
linear 3 . Their names are taken, not from a common ancestor, but either 
from some hill or valley, or some bird or beast or grass 4 . After a few 
general remarks on the Kungara and Temurka it will, therefore, be 
best to arrange such information as there is about the composition 
of the Fur district by district rather than to try to trace ramifications 
of any single family throughout Darfur. 

The Kungara include, beside the royal Kayra section, the great 
Musaba'at group which broke away to the east in the seventeenth 
century and conquered Kordofan and remained in power there until 
ousted by the Kungara from Darfur in 1784-1785 5 . The Kungara 

1 Both Shendi and Metemma are said to be Fur names, 

2 Voy. au Darfour, p. 134. 

3 When enquiring for a traditional ancestor among Arabs one never draws 
blank. The Fur, however, are nonplussed and hazard such guesses as "that fellow 
Adam, was it not?" or " Sulayman Solong." 

4 Examples are given later. See also note on p. 34. 
s See MacMichael, Tribes..., Chaps. 1 and n. 



remained in power in northern and central Kordofan until the 
Turkish conquest of 1821, and it has been mentioned how during 
the preceding period of the decadence of the Fung kingdom in the 
Gezira they penetrated as far east as the Nile. It is thus that we have 
at present a sprinkling of Kungara and Musaba'at in Kordofan, 
and it is partly on the same account, though by no means wholly, 
that the Gawama'a show marked signs of Fur influences 1 . 

The Kayra are subdivided into Basinga and Telinga, but 
neither term has any tribal or local connotation. The Basinga are the 
immediate relatives on the father's and the mother's side of the last 
reigning Sultan and the Telinga are remoter branches of the same stock. 

The former use the camel brand as (a), 


calling it "the Kayra" and the Sultan himself 

used to add a war-drum and sticks, making it ^ AAA 

appear as (b) 2 . 

The most thickly populated part of the Fur country proper is 
that lying south-west of Gebel Marra, and here, in so far as any 
single tribal name can be applied at all, the people are Temurka 
though the "upper classes" claim a Kungara connection. These 
parts, in the days when the Fur ruled from Marra, were under a 
viceroy known as the Dima or Abo Di'ma. His sphere was known as 
Dar Abo Dima 3 and the people subject to him as Di'manga. A 

1 See Part III, Chap. 1. 

2 Notice the resemblance to the Birked and Dadinga brands. The former omits 
the crows-feet: the latter includes one of them. The use of a war-drum and sticks 
as a brand both at G. Haraza and among the Tungur the Birked and the Fur has 
already been noted (see sub Birked). The crowsfoot ("Rigl el Ghorab") is also 
the commonest brand among the Bukkera and Derham sections at el Haraza and Kaga 
(see MacMichael, Camel Brands..., p. 34), and is further evidence of the connection 
between these hillmen of northern Kordofan and the Darfur tribes. 

3 Q.v. on Nachtigal's and Mason's maps of Darfur (second half nineteenth 
century). Dar Abo Dima includes in its geographical scope much of what is, in 
fact, the country of the Ta'aisha and the Beni Helba Arabs (Bakkara) and the 
Masalit and Fellata, all of whom have obtained their rights at the expense of the Fur. 

The Abo Dima in the south-west corresponded to the Abo Uma in the south- 
east, the Abu Dali in the centre, the Tekenyawi in the north, etc. The name Abo 
Dima, or rather Dima alone, means the right arm [of the Sultan]. El Tunisi, who 
speaks of "Abadyma" (loc. cit. p. 132, etc.), agrees as to this, saying the term 
denotes the right arm or right wing and that the Abo Dima used to march with 
his troops on the Sultan's right. It was customary to name all the chief dignitaries 
of the state after various parts of the Sultan's body. El Tunisi gives several examples, 
e.g. "Abo Dima" the right arm, the "Tekenyawi" the left arm, the "Urundulu" 
the head [N.B., this is doubtful: see later, p. 105], the "Abo Uma" the dorsal 
vertebrae (ibid. pp. 172, 173); but all accounts do not agree in detail. For instance, 
that given to me by reliable people in Darfur is that the "Abo Dima" was the right 
arm, the "Abo Uma" the left arm, the "Tekenyawi" the loins ("sulub"), the 
"Abo Dali" the trunk, the "Abo Gebayin" (in charge of collecting the corn 
taxes) the stomach, etc. 

Perhaps the most interesting of all is the "Abo FureY' or "Kamne," of whom 
el Tunisi (loc. cit.) says: "Son nom [Kamneh] signifie: le col du sultan. Le sultan 


singular Dimangowi is formed from this word and the head 
sheikh (Shartdi) of the district is still known as the Dimangowi 
or Dumungowi. 

"Dimanga" therefore includes all the Temurka and soi-disant 
Kungara under the Dumungowi. This group includes several sub- 
divisions, local rather than lineal, namely: 

Murginga, or Murkei, the Hagaranga 

Dumungowi 's own section Suronga 

burna, or burnabatinga mayringa 1 

nuygonga tebella 2 

Now el Tiinisi, who speaks of the Dar Abo Dima ("Dar Aba- 
dyma") as the Temurka country and of the Abo Dima himself as 
the dignitary "qui a le Temourkeh comme apanage attache a son 
rang 3 ," describes the latter as living in a less mountainous and in- 
accessible country and as being more civilized than the rest of the 
Fur, who were "une population a peau tres-noire, ayant les yeux 
rouges sur la sclerotique, et les dents naturellement rougeatres... 
brutaux et coleres, surtout dans l'etat d'ivresse...d'une grossierete 
et d'une brutalite extraordinaires," but he is either making a com- 
parison with the Fur of Marra, to whom the words quoted admirably 
apply, or (more probably) he refers to the Kungara element which, 
as personified by the headman, may have been the only one in the 
Abo Dima's sphere with which he happened to have been brought into 
contact. The name Temurka 4 at present is used to designate the less 
civilized element in the far south-west, who are feared on account of 
their power to transmogrify themselves into animals and to come to 
life again after death, and is almost a term of reproach. Of their 
customs more will be said later. Dar Abo Dima extends, roughly 

est-il tu6 a la guerre, le Kamneh, s'il lui survit et s'il revient, est mis a mort; on 
l'etrangle en secret. Son successeur est elu par le sultan nouveau. Si le sultan 
meurt dans son lit, on laisse survivre le Kamneh. Les pays du Darfour oil on ne 
parle pas arabe appellent encore le Kamneh, aba-fory, le pere du Darfour "—[This 
is not quite accurate: "Abo" is a courtesy title] — "...II a...presque la meme liberte 
de conduite et d'action que le Sultan..." (p. 172). 

When 'Ali Dinar was killed in 1916 the "Fur6" of the day, one Sayfo, a Fur, 
survived (having deserted a week or two before) and so incurred great odium 
among the Fur. I heard him spoken of not only as the "neck" but " the half of 
the Sultan," i.e. I suppose, his "second self." El Tunisi's account was more or 
less borne out except that I understood that however the Sultan died the " Fure" 
must die also and that for a new Sultan there must necessarily be a new "Fure," 
but of the same family. 

1 Called after a local grass named "mayri." 

2 The word means "pigeons" in Fur. It is used both of the district and its 

3 Voy. au Darfour, pp. 136, 141, 146, 148. 

4 In Furian dialect "Tumurdongo." 



speaking, as far north as the wadi 'Azum, which rises in Gebel Marra 
and flows west to Gebel Murni on the Masalit border and thence 
south-westwards until it becomes the Bahr el Salamat. 

North of the Agum lies Dar Kerne 1 , subject to a Fur functionary 
called the Niamaton. To the north and north-west again of Dar Kerne 
are the districts of Fi'a 2 and Madi 3 . According to the Niamaton himself 
all his subjects with few exceptions are Runga and other kinds of 
Fertit settled in their present positions by past Sultans of Darfur as 
serfs. He even speaks of his chief Shartais as Fertit. Needless to say, 
he claims Arab blood for himself, though calling himself a Fur and 
being a slave to all the local superstitions and customs. Of tribal 
divisions he has practically no conception and distinguishes group 
from group on purely local lines. The Temurka of Dar Abo Di'ma 
he regards as half Fur and half Fertit, the Shartais chiefly the former 
and the common villagers the latter. The particular type of Fertit 
commonest in Dar Abo Di'ma, according to the Niamaton, are the 
Foroke, the people, that is, whom the Dagu say they found west 
of Dara on their first arrival and ejected. The Tebella, he says, are 
properly Binga, and as it is certainly true that the Tebella are 
popularly regarded as differing in some way from the rest of the 
Dumungowi's subjects, this explanation may have some truth in it. 
In fact, if the Niamaton is in any way to be trusted all Gebel Marra 
and western Darfur was at one time the home of Fertit tribes, and 
they were only partially dispossessed by the Dagu, Tungur and 
Arabs 4 . How they came to be called Fur and why they speak one 
single language, which is not that of any of the Fertit tribes I have 
met, both in Marra and the east and the west, the north and the 
south, he fails to explain, and one hardly sees any explanation but 
that the Fur were a distinct race at some early period however much 
they may have subsequently amalgamated with the Fertit 5 . 

Fia district, under the old Sultans, included what is now the 
northern part of Dar Masalit, and Dar Erenga which, though generally 

1 Kerne" in Fur means [the] trousers [of the Sultan] . 

2 Fia means a hare. 

3 Madi means one who walks in front [of the Sultan's horse]. 

4 Speaking of the Fur outside Dar Abo Dima and Kerne the Niamaton affirmed 
the people of Nurgnia (western slopes of Marra) were Banda, those under Shartai 
'Ali (eastern slopes of Marra) were Binga, those of the Umungowi (east of Marra 
and in it) were Makraka (a tribe closely affiliated to the Azande) from Bahr el 
Gebel, and even the Karakirit of Gebel Si were " Fertft" also. 

5 Lepsius {Discoveries..., p. 260) says the Kungara language is quite different 
from Nubian (i.e. Barabra) and seems to have strong affinities with some South 
African languages. The Fur, whether Kungara or not, all speak the same language 
at present. A table comparing it with the Fertit dialects is added in Appendix 2 
to this chapter. 

M.S.I. 7 


included in Masalit, is really a separate district between the latter 
and Dar Kimr. Numerous Erenga and Masalit now live among 
the Fur outside their own ddrs. 

The Fur of Fia divide themselves into Mogunga (called after 
Gebel Mogu), Andunga (" anda" in Fur means a scout), Madringa, 
Abtunga (called after Gebel Abtu), Elganga (called after the tonsils : 
it is said the Fia people were once expert at cutting them out of 
children's throats), Mailunga (called after Gebel Mailo) and IsA- 
khung (called after an ancestor 'Isakha, the Darfur form of 'Ishak 1 ). 
The Shartdi of Fia, like the Niamaton, has no idea of tribal sub- 
divisions as distinct from local groups of mixed origin. 

On the eastern side of Gebel Marra lives the Umungowi. This 
name is formed from Abo Uma (the Sultan's "left hand"), as 
" Dumungozvi" is from Abo Dima 2 , and his people may be referred 
to as Umunga. His country seems once to have theoretically in- 
cluded, as the old maps shew, the territories of the Rizaykat and 
other Bakkara, the Bayko, Birked and DAgu, but he is now re- 
stricted to a very limited area in the hills. 

As would be expected the Umungowi claims that he and the 
majority of his people are KungAra, and they do, no doubt, contain 
a Kungara element, especially in the case of the ruling clan, the 
Mayringa, whom we have already met in the Dumungowi's country 
to the west. 

He divides his people into nine "wurrdri" (a word used among 
all the Fur to denote their various groups), namely: 

Mayringa Turug 

Kungara Miri 

Z6mi Suni 4 

SOmbi 3 Wanna, including (a) Nuygonga 5 

Dullo (b) Turn 

All the above are subject to the Mayringa. As regards their ante- 
cedents he is vague, but the Dullo, the Suni and the Wanna (or 
Wannanga) he classes as " Gebbala" or Hillmen, and for the Wanna 
he admits a slave origin 6 . 

1 There is also a Gebel 'Isakha in Fia, but it is denied that the Isakhung are 
named after it. 

2 His territories were bounded to the north by Dar Dali, or Abo Dali (the 
Sultan's "trunk"), which was subject to the Abo Sheikh and extended to the 
eastern frontier. 

3 The word means a spear. 

4 The word denotes a small dark species of dove common in Darfur and 

5 Cp. the Dumungowi's list. 

6 A certain Gayta ibn Salab, he says, was their ancestor. Gayta was "a slave 
of Pharaoh of Egypt." 



The names of all three groups are merely those of local hills. 
The Mi'ri, he says, are properly Dagu who have coalesced with the 
Fur. Of the Turug mention has already been made when speaking 
of the "Slave Tribes" of Darfur. The Zomi are said to differ from 
the rest by race, but the Umungowi could not say in what way 1 . 
He classes them and all the rest, however, except the Wanna, as 
Fur. For himself and all the Mayringa he claims an ancestor Mayri, 
but he admits mayri to be only a kind of grass. 

The Niamaton, we have seen, classes the Umungowi's subjects 
as Makraka from the Bahr el Gebel. 

In the hills of Si, the northernmost part of the range of which 
Gebel Marra is the southern and main portion, the population, 
though Fur and speaking precisely the same language as the rest of 
the Fur, is differentiated by the name of Karakirit (or Korakirit, 
or Korokoa) 2 . They are subdivided into Karanga, who admit being 
by origin Kara from the south (i.e. Fertit), Dugunga, Urtunga 3 , 
Sayrfinga 4 and Kayra. In civilization, or the lack of it, they are on 
a par with the Fur of Marra, and they appear to be racially identical 
with them. 

The story that Shau Dorshid, "the last of the Tungur Sultans," 
ruled from Si has already been discussed. 

The Fur living in the plains east of the mountains of Marra, 
and even in the outlying hills, nearly all claim to be Kungara and 
in some cases Kayra. In Dobo and Kullu districts, for instance, 
round Murtafal and west of Tina there is a strong ruling Kayra 5 
element, and, mixed with it, some Temurka 6 , some "Gebbala," 
some Masalit, and, curiously enough, some very debased Kababish 
called Lebabis 7 . 

Of the soi-disant Kungara in eastern Darfur who live at some 
distance from the Marra range perhaps the most important are the 

1 The name " Zomi" is said to apply to one who keeps very silent and unobtru- 

2 There seems to be no singular form, though one man suggested " Korodongo," 
and another " Kerkerwai." The latter added that the name Karakirit was onomato- 
poeic and formed from the noise "koro, koro, koro" made by the hillmen scratching 
about in the stones on the hillside when preparing the ground for cultivation. 

3 The name means "melon ('batikh') folk." 

4 Derived from "serrayf," the diminutive of "serraf," meaning a permanent 
sub-surface flow of water such as one finds in the beds of the larger "wadis" in 
western Darfur. 

5 Among their subdivisions are Gurji and Tomari. 

6 Subdivision Murtal. 

7 The Lababis (sing. Labasi) claim to be descended from a Kabbashi called 
'Om. 'Cm seems to be a perversion of 'On, for among the Kababish Awlad 'On 
in Kordofan is a section called Lababis. The Awlad 'On are probably of Shaikia 
origin (see Part III, Chap, i (g)). 



Kunyanga. These belong properly to the great northern district of 
the Tekenyawi, now inhabited by Zaghawa, Tungur, Arabs, etc., 
but they have also colonies farther south, especially round Beringil 
and Dara. Their claim to be Kungara is probably a good one since 
the head of their group held the hereditary rank of " Melik el Nahds" 
(" King of the War Drums "). 

XXI Something may now be said of the habits and customs of the 

In the first place, they are all now nominally Muhammadans, but 
so they were in el Tunisi's day, a century ago 1 . Previous to their 
conversion "by Sulayman Solong" they are popularly supposed to 
have worshipped "stones or trees," and there is, so far as I have 
seen, always either a stone or a tree intimately associated with the 
malignant local genii whom it is still considered advisable to placate. 
Certain spots are "sacred " to these genii, and are known as " mahaldt 
'azvdid" ("places of customs, or rites") in Arabic, or " ddingallo" in 
Fur. For instance, when I was touring in western Darfur (Kerne 
district) in 1916, accompanied by the Niamaton, it twice happened 
that our road passed by one of these spots and nothing would induce 
the Niamaton, in spite of his "Arab ancestry" and his contempt for 
his Fur subjects, to remain with me. He insisted in each case in 
making a detour of some miles to avoid the "holy" spot. The other 
Fur who were with me were unaffected because the observance of 
the custom applied only to the headman of the district and to no 
one else. Had the Niamaton been able to sacrifice a sheep on the 
spot all would have been well and he might have passed it in safety, 
and he would normally have sent word on ahead to the nearest 
village to meet him there with the animal for slaughter; but the 
exigencies of travel had rendered this impossible and it therefore 
only remained for him to avoid the place. He firmly believed that 
the alternative was sudden death for himself within a few months. 

The explanation he and his friends gave as follows. At one site, 
called Sergitti 2 , is a stone under which lives a devil (shaitdn or 
gin). The headman of Kerne district must never pass by this 
stone without offering a sacrifice to the devil, but the prohibition 
applies to no one else whether he be the Sultan of Darfur or a village 
sheikh. The site marks no boundary and it makes no difference 

1 Voy. au Darfour, p. 145. 

2 In Gebel Kongyo, a mile west of Gulli, at the foot of a steep incline, in 
the bend of a small khor, where the track crosses it and where the villagers draw 
their water (at the depth of a few feet) throughout the year. The "stone" referred 
to was an ordinary boulder undistinguished in any way from any other boulder 
near it. Cp. p. 122 for another similar case. 


from which side it is approached. The local devil has the form of a 
short fat white snake about two feet long with a large black woolly 
head the size of a man's fist and enormous eyes. An old woman 
living at Gulli, near by, used to be the familiar of this monster. 
Her position was hereditary, but she died leaving no descendants 
and her functions are therefore in abeyance. 

The Niamaton on reaching the stone would slaughter a sheep 1 
in such a way that its blood would gush over the stone and would 
drag the carcase across the path which he was to take. The old woman 
would remain behind after he had passed to make up cakes of blood 
and flour and cut the meat into strips and arrange these morsels on 
or by the stone for the snake. She would at the same time hold con- 
verse with the snake and intercede with it for the Niamaton's 
immunity from all harm, and the snake would appear to her and talk 
to her and grant her request. She would address it as "ya waladi" 
("my child") and pet it and place it in the shade. 

In the summer offerings are made to this same snake to ensure 
good rains for the crops. The local sheikh and elders perform this 
ceremony in lack of the old woman familiar, but, of course, the snake 
would not appear to them or hold any communication with them. 

In another case, in Kerne district, it was an old hardz tree by 
the edge of a khor running through a gap in some low hills, and not 
a stone, under which the local snake lay hid. I also heard of other 
similar sites in western Darfur and at Dobo on the eastern side of 
Marra, but I did not visit them. 

Sacrificial offerings of a rather different nature are common among 
the Fur, and especially at Gebel Si, the Karakirit district. These 
are made by persons about to start on a journey or any perilous 
venture and are designed to placate the local demons. The inter- 
mediaries in all such cases are the old women of the village. 

The belief in the "sacred" snake is not confined to Darfur. 
Professor Seligman and I found traces of it in northern Kordofan 
some years ago at Kaga, where the local "Nuba" believed a great 
snake to live in the hill called Abu 'Ali and had once been accustomed 
to send their women to placate it 2 , and the Abyssinian Gregorius in 
the seventeenth century told Job Ludolfus, the Treasurer to the 
Elector Palatine, that it was an old belief in Abyssinia that the ancient 
"Ethiopians worship'd for their god a huge serpent, in that language 
call'd Arwe-midre 3 ." The same cult exists in southern Kordofan 

1 As a rule, the sheep must be "akhdar" in colour, but I am not sure if this 
is universal. 

2 For details re this and re the cult at Kaga see Seligman, Art. "Nuba" in 
Hastings's Encyclopaedia. 3 Ludolfus, Bk. II, Ch. i, and Bk. HI, Ch. VI. 


among the Nuba, e.g. at Gebels Tekeim and Tira el Akhdar, at the 
present day 1 . 

A less unattractive type of sprite in Darfur is the damzoga 
(pi. damdzig). These are mischievous, and, in particular, delight 
to curdle fresh milk and break household utensils, but they may also 
be conciliated and will then act as guardians of the home and prevent 
any pilfering or suchlike. El Tunisi gives a long and substantially 
reliable account of these damzogas. He heard of them rather in 
the role of guardian genii, to whom flocks and household gear were 
entrusted for protection. He also relates of them how he was terrified 
at Gebel Marra, on calling at a man's house, by hearing a loud cry 
of " akibe" meaning "he is not here," and was told: 

"C'est le genie gardien de la hutte. Ici, presque chacun de nous a le 
sien; et nous les appelons en forien damzog 2 ." He was told later in Fasher 
that damzogs could be bought. "J'entendis souvent raconter," said his 
informant, "que les Damzog s'achetaient et se vendaient; que, pour s'en 
procurer, il faut aller trouver quelque proprietaire de Damzog, et lui en 
acheter un au prix demande. Une fois le marche conclu, on revient avec 
un cara 3 de lait et on le donne au vendeur, qui le prend et le porte dans le 
lieu de sa demeure ou sont ses Damzog. En entrant, il les salue, et va 
suspendre le cara a un crochet fixe au mur. Ensuite il dit a ses Damzog: 
'Un de mes amis, un tel, tres-riche, craint les voleurs, et me demande 
que je lui fournisse un gardien. Quelqu'un de vous voudrait-il aller chez 
lui ? II y a abondance de lait ; c'est une maison de benediction ; et la preuve 
c'est qu'il vous apporte ce cara de lait.' "... 

The damzogas were at first unwilling, but at the final appeal : 

"Oh! que celui de vous qui veut bien aller chez lui descende dans ie 
cara ! " One of them apparently relented. " L'homme s'eloigne un peu, et 
aussitot qu'il entend le bruit de la chute du Damzog dans le lait, il accourt 
et pose vite sur le vase ou cara un couvercle tissu de folioles de dattier. 
II le decroche ainsi couvert, et le remet a l'acheteur, qui l'emporte chez 
lui. Celui-ci le suspend a un mur de sa hutte, et en confie le soin a une 
esclave, ou a une femme, qui, chaque matin, vient le prendre, en vide le 
lait, le lave parfaitement, le remplit de nouveau lait fraichement trait, et 
le suspend a la meme place. Des lors on est en securite contre tout vol 
et toute perte 4 ." 

El Tunisi's comment on this story is "Pour moi, je traitais tout 
cela de folie," but it is none the less interesting and it seems to pro- 
vide additional evidence of the "sacred" attributes of milk to which 
further reference will be made in the note at the end of this chapter. 

1 For details re this and re the cult at Kaga see Seligman, Art. "Nuba" in 
Hastings's Encyclopaedia. Cp. Roscoe, Baganda, pp. 320 and 321. 

2 El Tunisi, loc. cit. pp. 149, 150. 3 I.e. a gourd. 

4 El Tunisi, loc. cit. pp. 150, 151. El Tunisi relates a further story about a 
damzog in the same strain. 


El Tunisi also relates how, according to popular belief, the Fur 
of the Temurka division and the Masalit had the power to trans- 
mogrify themselves into animals, the former into lions and the latter 
into hyaenas, cats and dogs. The Temurka, too, were said to come 
to life again three days after death and leave their tombs and go to 
other countries and there marry and live a second life. The Sultan 
had a band of these magicians under his orders and used them as 
envoys: they were under a "king" who was called " Kartab." The 
chief of the Temurka himself warned el Tunisi against attacking any 
lions in their country "car tous ceux que vous verrez dans ces con- 
trees sont de nos compagnons et amis metamorphoses 1 ." 

Popular belief, however, throughout Darfur still attributes to all 
the Fur a power of metamorphosis, and the word nabdti there is 
a common expression of abuse implying that the person to whom it 
is addressed is in his second existence, that he had died, that is, and 
instead of dwelling in Paradise, has come back to lead a second 
existence upon earth 2 . 

Of the political system in vogue in Darfur under the Sultanate, 
and the various ranks and privileges enjoyed at the court, el Tunisi 
gives a full and generally trustworthy account, which need not be 
retailed here. He saw little, however, of the out-districts and does 
not describe their internal economy. Their organization at present 

1 These "lion "-Fur (Ar. "usudda," or Fur "murunga," sing. "muru" = a lion) 
are known at present as "ahl el 'awaid" ("the folk of the customs"), a respectful 
euphemism, and in the Temurka country, south-western Dar Abo Dima, that is, 
they collect each year varying sums from the villagers, paid in consideration of 
the members of the guild, if it may be called so, engaging not to ravage their herds 
in the form of lions. The Fur themselves do not admit that any of their number 
ever change into animals other than lions, and even the power to become lions is 
confined to particular families among the Temurka. 

The only people in Darfur (excluding Masalft) who are believed at the present 
day to change into hyaenas are the Awlad Mana, who are debased Gawama'a 
living among the Fur. 

2 In this connection the remarks of Dr Felkin are worthy of notice (Notes on 
the For Tribe, 1884-1885), but it must be remembered that he is speaking of the 
district round Dara only and that many of the inhabitants thereabouts are Dagu 
and Birked as well as Fur. He says : " ' Kilma' is what seems to correspond to our 
idea of 'soul.' It is called 'the power of the liver,' for believing that the liver is 
the seat of the soul it is considered that an increase of a man's soul may be obtained 
by partaking of an animal's liver." When an animal is killed, he says, the Fur eat 
the liver raw but avoid touching it with the hands as it is sacred. "Women are not 
allowed to eat liver, and are believed not to possess a ' Kilma. '...When a man dies 
his ' Kilma ' is supposed to go to Accra and there he is told whether he has been 
good enough to go to Molu. Molu is the ancient native name for God." Felkin 
adds that Molu lives in Jouel (the sky), that " Uddu" similarly corresponds to Hell, 
and that women have no life after this one. The ghosts of departed spirits, he says, 
are called "malal." 

As regards the beliefs concerning the liver there is evidence in support to be 
found in el Tunisi's book, where there is a description of the ritual eating of liver 
at the inauguration of a Sultan. 


— and there is no evidence of recent change in this respect — is 
simple. At the head of the affairs of each district is a Shartdi {pi. 
Shardti) 1 , corresponding roughly to the 'omda of the rest of the 
Sudan. An important Shartdi has under him several lesser Shardti, 
each of whom controls a particular group of villages 2 , and all alike 
are purely secular officials of the same tribe or sub-tribe as the people 
to whom their district belongs. 

Each Shartdi has also under him a varying number of damdlig 
{sing, dimlig) or tribal elders 3 . 

A Kursi is a kind of president of the council of damdlig. 

In dividing tribal dues (in Gebel Si) the Shartdi takes two 
shares (one for himself and one for the Sultan), while the Kursi 
takes one share, which again is subdivided in similar proportions, 
the Kursi getting two-thirds of it and the rest of the dimligs one- 
third. The functions of the Kursi are executive, viz. to carry 
out the behests of the Shartdi, collect taxes, etc. His position is 
customarily hereditary, passing to the brother or son, but in cases 
of personal unsuitability some other dimlig is chosen. Below the 
above in rank are the village sheikhs, commonly called muluk {sing, 

There is also, however, an interesting and somewhat shadowy 
figure still to be accounted for — the Urundulu. In the Fur country 
proper every Shartdi has his Urundulu, and the Sultan at el 
Fasher always used to have one also. As to what exactly were his 
functions there is some difference of opinion. In Dar Abu Dima and 
Kerne his functions appeared to approximate to those of a Kadi and 
to have been primarily religious. If there is a criminal or civil case 
to be decided and the facts are not in dispute, the judgment is simply 
given by the Shartdi. But if proofs are needed or witnesses are 
called the matter goes before the Urundulu who reports his finding 
to the Shartdi to enable the latter to give judgment or sentence. If 
a fine is imposed it is shared between the two. 

1 The word is regarded as of Arabic derivation though whether this is really 
so seems doubtful. The proper Fur term for a Shartai is "Kfso," or "Kisong" 
{pi. "Kisong-ong"). 

2 A head-Shartai is called " Kisong-ong Kirri" (Chief of the Shartais). 

3 El Tunisi, p. 176: "Les simples gouverneurs secondaires de districts ou de 
communes sont appeles ' chartay ' (au pluriel ' cheraty ')• Les inspecteurs des tribus 
portent le nom de ' damalidj ' (singulier de ' doumloudj ') qu'ils prononcent ' doum- 
ledj."' As el Tunisi's editor notes, the term "dimlig" is of Arabic derivation and 
means " a sort of bracelet worn above the elbow." The proper Fur term for " damd- 
lig " is "kilmo," and a single "dimlig" is usually called by them "dilmong" 
when they talk in Fur. Cp. note to p. 74 above. 

4 "Melik" is, of course, a purely Arabic term meaning "king." The proper 
Fur term for a "melik" is "sagal" {pi. "sagla"). 


At Gebel Si, on the other hand, I could find no hint of any 
religious functions pertaining to the Urundulu and he was spoken of 
as simply a vizier to the Shartdi. 

As regards the Sultan's Urundidu, or the " Urundulu of el 
Fasher," the term is said by el Tunisi to denote "the head of the 
Sultan," and the Urundulu was 

un haut et puissant dignitaire, qui possede, comme prerogatives, plusieurs 
grands domains.... On porte devant lui un tapis, comme devant le Sultan. 
Quand celui-ci va a la chasse ou en voyage, la fonction de l'orondolon est 
de marcher avec ses soldats, en tete des troupes; c'est lui qui ouvre la 

But the interpretation of the name as " head of the Sultan " is contra- 
dicted by what the people of Abu Dima, Si and Kerne alike state, 
namely, that the term means " the threshold of the door." It is, they 
all explained, through the Urundulu that anyone desirous of approach- 
ing the Sultan or Shartdi must prefer his request 1 . 

When Darfur was reoccupied in 19 16 there was still a nominal 
Urundulu at el Fasher, but his privileges and powers were nil, 
and the Sultan seemed to have taken no notice of him whatever and 
merely to have allowed him to exist as a sort of traditional survival. 
Similarly, but to a much slighter extent, in the out-districts peopled 
by Fur there has evidently been some change, and with the wider 
spread of Islamic manners the fekis have increased and it is now 
usual for them to be consulted as much or more as the Urundulus, 
and the latter have lost much of their distinctive character. Local 
Kadis have also arisen, appointed by the Sultans, and among the 
non-FuR tribes perform the same functions as the Urundulus among 
the Fur, but with the aid of a greater smattering of Muhammadan 
law than the latter possess. 

In Dar Abu Dima if a man die a natural death he is buried free 
of charge ; but if he is killed in a quarrel or murdered a sum equiva- 
lent to about a pound or so has to be paid as a burial fee by his 
relatives to the Urundulu, who shares it with the Shartdi. This is 
called "buying a grave," but no purchase of land is implied, since 
the money would have to be paid even if the deceased owned the 
land on which he was buried 2 . The fee, which is entirely distinct 

x _The Fur word for "a door" is "wurre" or "urre." The word for a "fiki" 
is "ur." The same word ("ur") also means "flour" (made by grinding grain on a 

2 Some feeling was caused in 1916 when during the disturbances that accom- 
panied the reoccupation some Arabs were killed by the Fur and the latter were 
not only averse to paying "dia" (blood-money) but crowned their impudence by 
demanding a "burial fee" from the Arabs before they would consent to let the 
Arabs bury their dead. 


from blood-money or fines, is, nevertheless, alleged to have been 
originally devised as a deterrent to quarrelsomeness; but this 
explanation is unconvincing and the fee is charged irrespectively of 
there having been a quarrel at all (e.g. if a man is murdered in his 
sleep) and whichever party may have been to blame. If an Urun- 
diila were killed, his relatives, it was held by the Shartdis of 
whom I enquired, would pay the fee to his successor. Blood-money 
is paid in the usual manner by the relatives of a murderer as com- 
pensation to the relatives of the murdered man, but in addition a 
fine of six head of cattle has to be produced by the people of the 
district (hdkord) in which the murderer resides and given to the 
Shartdi of the district of the murdered man. This is, no doubt, 
correctly explained as a measure to deter evildoers by making it to 
the interest of their neighbours to prevent them from offending. 

A well-known feature of savage etiquette, that of the avoidance 
by a man of his mother-in-law and by a woman of her father-in-law 
maintains in Darfur, as in Kordofan among the Arab nomads and 
the sedentary population, and in the Gezira, if not universally in the 
northern Sudan. El Tunisi says of this subject 1 : 

Lorsqu'un individu est fiance a une fille, s'il frequentait precedemment 
le pere et la mere de sa future, et si celle-ci frequentait aussi le pere et la 
mere du pretendant, les relations des deux families sont interrompues du 
jour raeme de la demande en mariage; ils se deviennent tous absolument 
etrangers. Alors, si le fiance apercoit de loin le pere ou la mere de sa 
future, il prend un autre chemin que celui ou il les voit : le pere et la mere 
en font de meme a son egard. La fille evite egalement la rencontre du 
pere et de la mere de son futur epoux....Il est de regie, ainsi que nous 
1'avons dit, que lorsqu'un individu est amoureux d'une jeune fille, et que 
la mere de celle-ci a consenti a l'accepter pour gendre, il ait soin d'eviter 
la rencontre de sa future belle-mere, qui, a son tour, doit aussi eviter de 
se trouver face a face avec son futur gendre. Si done elle le voit venir 
de son cote, et qu'etant trop pres de lui elle ne puisse pas ou ne veuille 
pas s'eloigner assez vite, elle s'accroupit a terre, ramene un pan de ses 
vetements sur sa tete, se voile la figure, et reste ainsi cachee jusqu'a ce 
que l'amant de sa fille soit passe. 

The above is still correct. In particular, it is taboo for a man to 
eat Avith his mother-in-law, or a woman with her father-in-law. If 
the parties were forced by circumstances to speak with one another 
they would do so briefly and rapidly with bent heads. 

There seems to be also some reluctance on the part of a man to 
speaking or eating with his father-in-law, but it is very slight and not 
universal. He would even have qualms about speaking to the brothers 

1 Voy. au Darfour, pp. 219, 236. 


and sisters of his wife's mother, though none to fraternizing with 
those of his wife. 

The wife would have a distinct reluctance to conversing with her 
mother-in-law or with the brothers and sisters of her husband's 
father. This superstition is common both to the Arab and the non- 
Arab population, though its observance is often slack. The only 
explanation I have heard vouchsafed is that of "the respect due to 
the parents of one's spouse." A father and a paternal uncle is almost 
the same thing among the non-Arab tribes and the latter is spoken 
of as a "lesser father 1 ." 

It is often in connection with this curious belief that one sees by 
the roadside, generally by a rough stony track leading to a well, a 
little cairn, or several cairns, made chiefly of stones, but with pieces 
of cow-dung and sticks added. These are called " Um Ball" in 
northern Darfur and denote a mishap of some sort. The usual 
mishap is a meeting between son-in-law and mother-in-law, one 
going to and the other coming from the wells. The former, in this 
case, would at once crouch down on his hams, with hands on the 
ground before him, till his mother-in-law had passed, and then make 
a little heap of stones on the site. Similarly, a cairn is begun if one 
trips in walking or breaks wind by accident 2 , and subsequent passers- 
by occasionally add a stone to the heap "for luck." The idea seems 
to be that an evil spirit must haunt the spot and cause the mishap, 
and the stones are either intended to "keep him under" or, as the 
addition of cow-dung and sticks suggest, to placate him by a small 
emblematical (not to say invidiously perfunctory) offering. 

Circumcision of males was universal in Darfur in el Ttinisi's 
time: the circumcision of females, either partial or entire, was not 
uncommon, but the Fur proper did not practise it 3 . 

1 Among the Bisharfn "A man may not speak to, or come in contact with, his 
mother-in-law, though his first child should, if possible, be born in her house. 
After two or three children have been born he gives her a present and may then 
speak to her. A man may speak to his father-in-law, but will never eat with him, 
i.e. out of the same dish at the same time" (Prof. Seligman, "Note on Bisharin," 
Man, June, 1915). An interesting article on this widespread superstition, common 
to Africa, America, Australia and the Oceanic Isles, though not to Asia or Europe, 
was published by Andrew Lang in the Morning Post of March 8, 1912. For the 
custom among the 'Ababda see Belzoni (Narrative..., pp. 304-313), and for the 
same among the Rubatab and Kababfsh see Crowfoot, Sudan Notes and R., Apr. 1918, 
p. 128, and Harvard Afr. Stud. 11, 126, respectively. Cp. Roscoe, Baganda, p. 129. 

2 This last was the explanation I heard given at Gebel Katul (N. Kordofan) 
in 1910. 

3 Voy. au Darfour, pp. 216, 217. Cp. Browne, pp. 347 et seq.: he adds, con- 
cerning excision, " In Dar-Fur many women, particularly among the Arabs never 
undergo excision.. . .Thirteen or fourteen young females underwent i^j&ks*. [excision] 
in an house where I was." 


A custom connected with circumcision which came to my notice on 
one occasion may be quoted here. The incident happened at a village 
of Kimr near Kebkebia, but it was said to be common to all Darfiir, 
Arabs and others. When a boy has been circumcised his parents trick 
him out in the gayest apparel possible, even with women's trinkets 
and a man's sword in the particular case under notice, and for a period 
of fourteen days after the circumcision the boy demands from any 
wealthy visitor to the village, and from his relatives, a customary 
gratuity as by right. He is also for a period of forty days from the 
circumcision sent to visit neighbouring villages and it is incumbent 
upon the person visited to sacrifice a fowl in his honour. The fowl may 
be cock or hen, and no animal or bird but a fowl is acceptable. 

XXII All the villages of the Fur that I have seen are as dirty and 
badly built as those of the other inhabitants of Darfiir. The present 
generation when living at any distance from the gebels usually build 
a conical tukl of straw or grass with a rakuba attached; but when 
there is a supply of rocks handy they often place a layer or two of 
them at the base of the sides of the tukl as a protection against white 
ants and prowling beasts of prey, and superimpose the straw, or else 
make all the wall of stone and only the roof of straw. In the past 
the population must have been quite ten times what it is now : whole 
mountains that are now utterly deserted may be seen, as one travels, 
to be " terrassed" for cultivation; their sides, that is, are banded 
horizontally up to a considerable height with narrow ridges made 
by so arranging the stones that the side of the hill, instead of being 
a continuous slope is a series of short steps. On these banked-up 
steps, which would hold the rain-water, the corn was planted, and 
the utilization of every available foot of ground for this purpose 
testifies to the previous density of the population. 

Similarly, remains of old stone villages litter the whole country- 
side in the vicinity of Gebel Marra and its countless foot-hills. The 
houses were round or square and the walls fairly well built of rough 
unshaped slabs and rocks, but in some cases there was a solid founda- 
tion of stones built up above the ground-level, upon which, it is said 
with probability, some sort of grass hut was erected. 

In plan the villages were mere rabbit-warrens with the houses 
built close together on high ground suitable for defence. The poorer 
man would apparently have no more than a single hut, but the better- 
to-do would have an enclosure containing a number of rooms or else 
a group of several huts built contiguously to one another. The chief's 
enclosure — as one assumes it to be — generally occupies a central 
position on the highest ground and is larger, better built, and more 



intricate in design. Figs. 1, 2, 3 will serve to give a rough impression 
of the curious designs of some of these enclosures so far as I could 
reconstruct their ruins. The first represents a chief's house some 
seventy feet up on a 
ledge of Gebel Kowra. 
(This gebel forms a con- 
necting-link between 
Gebel Si, to which it 
belongs, and Gebel 
Marra. The road from 
el Fasher to Kebkebia 
passes through it.) The 
other two figures are of 
large houses at the old 
village of Deriblayn on 
the western edge of 
Gebel Si, to the north 
of Kowra. 

The date of none of 
these villages is known 
for certain, but so far as 
can be ascertained they 
were inhabited until 
Zubeir Pasha devastated 
Darfur late in the last 
century. The most curi- 
ous feature of the build- 
ings is certainly the little 
closet-like recesses built 
into the walls. In some 
cases (as in the figures 
portrayed) these closets 
were single, generally 
about two and a half or 
three feet high, with a 
concave roof, and an 
entry barely big enough 
to admit a small human 
being. In other cases they were double, the smaller closet leading 
by a tiny doorway into a rather larger closet of similar design. 

Whether these rocky holes were built for warmth in the cold weather 
or as female apartments, or for some other purpose, one cannot say. 

Fig. 1 (from Gebel Kowra). A = small closets. B = cir- 
cular upper chamber standing on platform built 
to same height as walls. Other similar but 
smaller houses stand back to back with that 
pictured. Wall, CC, about 2 feet thick. 

Fig. 2 (from Gebel Si). Diameter of rooms about 
3 yards. Walls about 3 feet high. A, door 
with stone slab as lintel. 



The majority of the enclosures contained only single-storey 
buildings of simple circular design, but in the more important ones 
one often finds an upper-storey room built over the closets or on the 
top of the wall, which is broadened sufficiently to support it. 

I have not personally visited any of the present-day villages in 
the most inaccessible and undisturbed portions of the range, namely, 
the heart of Gebel Si and the peaks above Kalokiting, at the south 

Fig. 3 (from Gebel Si). Diameter of circles about n yards. Rooms about 
2JX3J yards. B and eastern half of A stand on crest of small rocky hill. 
Western half of A is on down gradient. Walls about -z\ — 3 feet high except 
on western half of A where they were probably about 5 feet. B contained no 
rooms. C is a raised platform of same height as walls. D, possible position of 
entrance. D — E, wall completely ruined. F, possibly a path. GG, sheer drop 
down hillside. H, boulders. 

end of Gebel Marra, near the great mountain lake of Deriba; but the 
following extract from a report made and kindly lent to me in 191 8 
by Captain H. F. C. Hobbs of the West Yorkshire Regiment, who, 
with Mr J. A. Gillan of the Sudan Civil Service, has the distinction 
of being the first white man to visit the latter portion of the range, 
suggests that some at least of the Fur still take some care in the 
building of their huts and the management of their crops and, 


because more segregated, have deteriorated less than their brethren 
in the more accessible regions. The account given of the lakes of 
Deriba 1 is also of interest. 

It was not until we had risen to some 1700 feet above the plain that 
we encountered any signs of present day occupation: here the nature ot 
the country changes, numerous rock plants, bracken and short mountain 
grass making their appearance with villages, areas of wheat cultivation and 
tomato and onion patches ; the latter being irrigated by the natives by means 
of the many small running streams with which the Jebel abounds. The 
two lakes at Deriba... lie, at an altitude of 1700 feet above the plain and 
4704 feet above sea level, in the arena of what may best be described as 
a vast amphitheatre, from three to four miles in diameter, formed by a 
continuous circular (or slightly oval) range of steeply-sloping heights, 
varying from about 800 to 2000 feet above the surface of the lakes 2 . 

The salt lake (termed by the natives the "female"), which is the larger 
of the two, occupies the north-east corner of the amphitheatre. It measures 
approximately 1050 yards in length, 1350 in breadth, and about 3^ miles 
in circumference. The water is very salt, dirty, and greenish in colour 
and has an unpleasant acrid smell. There is a heavy deposit of salt all 
round the perimeter of the lake clearly defining its high- water mark. 
Except at the northern end, the banks shelve very gradually into soft, 
oozing, strongly smelling mud. ...It would appear that the lake is of no 
great depth, except possibly at its extreme northern end.... 

The second lake (the "male") lies about § mile to the south-west of 
the salt lake and contains more or less fresh water. It is approximately 
I 55° y ar ds long, 900 broad, with a circumference of about 2 miles. It 
forms the centre of a large crater, undoubtedly volcanic in origin, the 
sides of which rise almost perpendicularly out of the water to heights 
varying from about 400 to 700 feet.... The water, like that of the salt lake, 
is greenish in colour, but clean and clear, and smells and tastes slightly 
of sulphur.... The banks shelve very abruptly and the lake appears to be 
of great depth.... This lake is regarded with much superstition and fear 
by the inhabitants of Jebel Marra, to whom its mystic properties are well 
known.... The Furs of the Jebel say it is haunted, regard it as an oracle, 
and ask it questions, the answers to which they deduct from the various 
colours which the waters of the lake assume in the early morning or late 
afternoon when there is considerable reflection, or when the surface of 
the water is ruffled by the wind.... There is no outlet of any kind from 
either of these lakes, unless it be a subterranean one. They are fed by 
numerous khors from the surrounding mountains — 

The Fur build quite good "tukls," or circular huts, with walls of loose 
stone and roofs well thatched with grass. The villages are in every case 
surrounded by loose stone walls of considerable strength and thickness, 
about six feet high and usually topped with a breastwork of faggots. These 

1 The "See Daribe" of Nachtigal's map of Wadai and Darfur (Gotha, Justus 
Perthes, 1875). 

2 All these heights have since been found to be very considerably under- 
estimated. The peaks are quite 10,000 feet above sea-level. 


villages are very much better and more strongly built than any others I 
have yet seen in Northern or Southern Darfur, and are in striking con- 
trast to the miserable ill-built hovels of the Beni Helba Baggara Arabs 
who inhabit the plain to the south-west of the mountain.... The Jebel 
Fur... are distinctly in advance of the other tribes of Darfur as builders 
and cultivators.... 

The burial-places of the old inhabitants are frequently met with. 
They are oval circumferences of random stone slabs stuck up on 
end and, in Dar Abo Dfma, were spoken of as the work of "Abu 
Um Gonan," a term which must be the same as the "Abu Gonaan" 
(or Kona'an) who are fabled to have once lived in the northern 
"Nuba" hills of Kordofan, and whose name again may be connected 
with Kana'an, i.e. Canaan, son of Ham, the traditional progenitor of 
pagan tribes 1 . 

The system adopted in the Fur villages for storing grain is dis- 
tinctive from that in Kordofan or the east to the best of my knowledge. 
It is as follows: A number of poles with short forks are put in the 
ground so as to form a rough square. The fork is at the lower end 
and remains a foot or so above ground. In the forks other poles rest 
horizontally, and brushwood and matting are laid from pole to pole 
to form a bed. The heads of corn, when cut, are heaped on this bed 
and are contained by long, broad sheets of matting {sherkdnia y 
pi. sherdkna) which are stretched all round the uprights and bound 
to them, thus forming an enclosure. The matting is made of ndl 
grass worked in a criss-cross pattern. The object of having the corn- 
store thus raised above the ground is to avoid the ravages of the 
white ants. 

For the storage of grain inside the house the Fur use the Suayba, 
a large cylindrical vessel formed of cow-dung and mud, some four 
feet high and two and a half in diameter. For water or merissa 
they employ the common circular burma of burnt clay, usually with 
two or three tiny ornamental false handles placed at the angle formed 
by the belly and the neck of the vessel. The burmas are made 
locally and in the same manner as in northern Kordofan, namely, 
by placing a lump of clay on a mat and driving the fist downwards 
into the middle of it and then working outwards. 

The only art in which the Fur shew any particular proficiency 

is that of basket-work. The neatly made baskets of coarse strong 

plaited grass, dyed in various colours and resembling an ordinary 

waste-paper basket in shape, with their large, flat, slightly convex 

lids worked in every conceivable fantastic coloured design of line 

1 See MacMichael, Tribes..., pp. 88, 241. The jungle-fowl is also known in 
Kordofan as "gidad Abu Kona'an." 


and cube, which are often seen for sale in the Omdurman bazaars, 
are essentially a Darfur manufacture. 

For measuring grain, or carrying it in smaller quantities, the 
Fur make an uncoloured rayka of basket-work. This is in shape a 
wide circular bowl about a foot high and one and a half in diameter 
at the top. The latitudinal bands are formed of strips of bark of 
laot {Acacia nubica), etc., an inch broad and immediately con- 
tiguous. Horizontally intersecting these, in and out, are strips of 
cane, immediately contiguous. The intersection is the simplest 
possible. The rim is formed of a larger strip of cane, and the base of 
two concentric rings of stout cane. The interior is plastered with 
cow-dung to prevent leakage. 

The Fur usually carry a quiver full of barbed throwing-spears 
and a knife, but their most distinctive weapon is the safarog (pi. 
safdrig), or throwing-stick, shaped as 
(a) or (b), or, even less commonly, 
as (c), and cut from the roots of the 
inderdb or kitr bush. Practically every 
Fur carries one of these, and they are 
very expert in their use. They chiefly 
employ them for killing hares and a ^ " 

guinea-fowl, but, when occasion arises, for injuring the legs of the 
horses ridden by their foes. 

The Nilotic negro does not use the throwing-stick, but the 
negroes who invaded Nubia and Upper Egypt under the eighteenth 
dynasty did, and so also did the Bega 1 . 

XXIII In person the Fur of Marra, Si and the west are small and 
skinny with thin legs, small bones and egg-shaped heads. All have 
a peculiarly rancid smell 2 . The young men wear bracelets of brass 
and hang a few beads and cowries in their hair — more especially the 
Tebella — but on reaching years of discretion they give up these 

Their character is marked by stupidity and low cunning in com- 
bination. They are suspicious and deceitful and they instinctively 
lie about even the most trivial subject rather than speak a word of 
the truth. They are very ignorant and credulous of the wildest 
rumours, hot-tempered, idle and drunken; but they are easily 
amused and have a distinct sense of the ludicrous. Their one am- 
bition in life is to acquire more cattle. 

1 " In numerous xvm dynasty paintings Negroes are represented with bows 
and arrows and throwing sticks (boomerangs)." Seligman, Address to the Anthrop. 
Section... Manchester, B. A. Rep. 1915, pp. 10, 12. 

2 This was noticed also by Dr Felkin (see Bibliography). 

M.S. I. 8 


As one goes farther away from the mountains, and particularly 
in the east, where the population is more crossed with Arab and other 
strains, an obvious improvement is noticeable in physique and mental 
and ethical standards alike. Among the Kungara it is not uncommon 
to see an extremely well-built man of massive proportions, dark in 
complexion — even to coal-black — but with the coarse negro features 
reduced to some kind of regularity. 

XXIV Until recent years the Sultan of Darfur used to appear with 
the lower half of his face veiled, and it was counted the height of 
offensiveness for any of his subjects, even his chief men, to look at 
him straight in the face. One addressed him only with bowed head 
and eyes abased, half kneeling and half sitting on the ground. The 
Sultan of Masali't still appears in public with face veiled to the 
eyes 1 . Here we probably have a tradition of royalty derived from the 
Berber element in the western states 2 ; but, of course, the veiling 
custom is most familiar to the world in the case of the picturesque 
"veiled" (" mulaththamin") Tuwarek of the northern deserts — 
known in Darfur, where there is a large colony of them close to el 
Fasher, as "Renin" — who are largely Berber. 

Similarly, the seven-days' sequestration of a newly chosen king, 
mentioned by Barth 3 as practised by the (Berber) Muniyoma, 
closely corresponds to the similar custom related by el Tunisi 4 of 
the Sultans of Darfur. 

XXV Now the above disjointed items of information about the 
various people with whom the more distinctively Arab stock com- 
mingled in Darfur obviously form too slender a foundation to sup- 
port any conclusions of scientific finality, but they do give certain 
indications of a general nature as to the directions from which came 
the ethnic influences that have been at work in the country. 

Apart from the Arab strain it seems that the two main ethnic 
elements in Darfur are the Negro (Bantu ?)and theHamitic. The former 
is the most ancient and survives more strongly in the south and in the 
range of Gebel Marra. The latter is partly due to the continuous 
pressure exerted by the Arabs in north Africa upon the Berber races, 
compelling them to move southwards and encroach upon the lands 
of the darker races, a process which began at least as early as the 
seventh century a.d. and affected every state from the Atlantic to 
the Nile in a greater or less degree. 

1 March, 1918, was the date I met him. 

2 See, e.g. Browne, p. 211, and cp. frontispiece to Denham, Clapperton and 
Oudney's Travels. For the ancient custom of covering the mouth see Barth, 11, 
270. It also appears in Abyssinia (see Bent, p. 39). 

3 11, 271. 4 Voy. au Darf. p. 160. 


The earlier waves of the southward-flowing tide were composed 
almost entirely of Berbers, but as the Arabs fused with the Berbers 
in the north and converted them to Islam its composition was pro- 
portionately modified, and by the tenth century there were Arabs 
as well as Berbers definitely established in the more westernly king- 
doms 1 and beginning to work their way eastwards. A Berber or 
Arab origin is claimed for the ruling house in each of the states that 
border on the southern fringe of the Sahara 2 to the west of Lake 

But from the fusion of Libyo-Berber and negro farther north 
had already arisen the Tibbu stock 3 which had become all powerful 
in the Tibesti hills long before the Arabs began to force the Berbers 
southwards. They had also established themselves in northern Wadai 
and Darfur, and the later Berber- Arab congeries, though their social 
influence may have been not inconsiderable, never supplanted them 
there 4 . 

Thus one might describe the general ethnological aspect of 
Darfur as distinctively Tibbu in the north and negro in the south. 
In addition, however, to the Tibbu and the negro element and to 
the numerous Arab tribes which will be dealt with in a later chapter, 
there are scattered over the country various debased tribes which, 
though blended with negro from the south or Tibbu from the north, 
are at the same time connected on the one side with the ancient 
peoples of the Nile valley or, on the other, with the old kingdoms 
lying west of Lake Chad. 

1 Cp. Johnston injourn. Anthr. Inst, xliii, 1913, p. 398, and for some general 
account of the Berber movement see Part II, Chap. 1, Appendix. 

2 Thus Leo Africanus, speaking of Bornu, says (p. 832): "They have a most 
puissant prince being descended from the Libyan people called Bardoa"; and 
again (p. 133), "Some writers are of opinion that the king of Timboto, the king 
of Melle, and the king of Agadez fetch their originall from the people of Zanaga 
[i.e. Sanhaga] to wit, from them which inhabite the desert." Makrfzi and Sultan 
Bello similarly trace the Bornu dynasty to a Berber origin. (See Dr Brown's note 
to Leo, loc. cit. and cp. Orr, The Making of Modern Nigeria, p. 60, and App. to 
Part II, Chap. 1.) 

3 See above, Part I, Chap. 2. 

4 It is noticeable in this connection that whereas the western states had been 
converted to Islam centuries before Leo wrote his travels in the first half of the 
sixteenth century — and Ghana as early as 1076 (see Cooley, pp. 42-86, Brown in 
Leo, p. 838), Bornu was still pagan in Leo's day (see Leo, loc. cit.). According to 
Ahmad Baba's History (q.v. Barth, iv, 407) Tiliitan the great Lamtuna (Berber) 
chief who died in 837 a.d. had been the first of his people to adopt Islam and con- 
vert the negroes, and Za-Kasi, King of Songhay, was converted in 1009 by mission- 
aries from Egypt. 



Note on certain Egyptian or Hamitic 
survivals in darfur 

XXVI Sir H. Johnston 1 speaks of "a wave of late Egyptian cul- 
ture" being borne "across the Sudan along the southern fringe of 
the Sahara Desert to the Upper Niger." This he dates "immediately 
prior to the Christian era." At Agades arose the Songhay people 
who "adopted accidentally or by influence an imitation of ancient 

Egyptian architecture in clay and wood instead of stone " After 

subduing the Mandingo of Melle they made their headquarters for 
a time "the city of Jenne at the confluence of the Niger and the 
Bani. From Jenne was radiated over all the Western Sudan an 
apparent Egyptian influence in architectural forms, in boat-building, 
and other arts." 

Professor Seligman, however, objects to the stress laid on Egypt: 
he would prefer to speak of the "Hamitic influence (of which the 
Egyptian civilization was only a special development) which was 
leavening dark Africa, perhaps for thousands of years before Egypt 
herself emerged into the light of history 2 ." 

In this connection three facts may be cited. El Tunisi relates 
as follows 3 : 

Autre exemple de bizarrerie.... Autrefois, on ne permettait pas au 
Sultan du Ouaday de boire du lait frais. " Car," disaient les Ouadayens, 
"si le sultan boit du lait, qu'est-ce que boiront les sujets?" Or il advint 
qu'un Sultan se procura une vache laitiere. On le sut dans le public ; on 
s'ameuta, et on alia dire au sultan: "tu vas te defaire de ta vache, nous 
promettre de ne plus boire de lait, ou bien nous te tuons." II fallut obeir. 
Aujourd'hui cette coutume est abolie, et les sultans boivent du lait comme 
tout le monde. 

Superstitions concerning milk are prevalent among the tribes of 
the eastern Sudan and East Africa and the Nilotic negroes, being 
characteristic of a Hamitic stock or culture 4 . Whether the one quoted 
necessarily reached Wadai from the Nile across Darfur or whether it 
may have come in from the north with other Libyo-Berber influences 

1 hoc. cit. p. 387. 

2 Journ. Anthr. Inst, xliii, 1913, p. 420. See also "Address to the Anthrop. 
Section of the Brit. Assoc, for the Advancement of Science," 1915. Barth thought 
he found various linguistic analogies between Tibbu and ancient Egyptian, and the 
"Tarikh el Khamfs" (q.v. supra, p. 72) appears to derive the Tibbu from Egypt (see 
Carbou, II, 116), but M. Rene Basset notes (Carbou, 1, 117) the matter is extremely 
doubtful and "Si le toubou est apparente a l'egyptien, il Test par consequent au 
berbere qui appartient au groupe chamitique, appele aussi proto-semitique." 

3 Voy. au Ouaday, p. 393. 

4 Seligman, loc. cit. p. 654, and in Man, March 1915 (re the Bisharin). Cp. 
Browne, p. 466, for one striking instance. 


is a question to be decided by experts, but we have lately seen that 
certain milk-superstitions did exist in Darfur. 

The second fact to which I would draw attention is as follows: 
Browne states that in Darfur at the beginning of the rainy season 
the king accompanied by the lesser chieftains (meleks) goes out 
into the fields while the people are sowing and makes several holes 
with his own hand 1 . The same custom is said to apply in Bornu, etc. 
It has its counterpart (as Browne notes) in ancient Egypt. 

" The great mace-head of Hierakonpolis , dating back some six or 
seven thousand years... shews his majesty inaugurating irrigation works 
with a hoe of the pattern still in use."' 2 

" The central figure is the king standing with a hoe in both hands. 
Before him is a man holding a basket for the earth, and beyond that 
there has been another man holding a bunch of ears of corn." 3 

The same practice used to obtain among the Fung. Bruce relates 
that the name " Badi," which he considered generic to the Fung kings, 
meant "the peasant," and was given because of the custom whereby 
the king always ploughed and sowed with his own hand a plot of 
land once in his reign 4 . 

Thirdly, when 'Amr ibn el 'Asi conquered Egypt he found and 
abolished the annual rite of sacrificing a virgin to ensure the rise 
of the Nile 5 . 

That the same custom lingered in Bornu down to modern times 
appears from the story which negro pilgrims told Burckhardt in 
18 16-18 17 at Cairo: they related that "at the time of the inundation, 
which is regular there as in Egypt, it [s.c. the river Tsad which 'flows 
through Bornou at a short distance from the capital of Birney '] flows 
with great impetuosity. A female slave richly dressed is on this 
solemn occasion thrown into the stream by order of the king 6 ." 

1 Browne, pp. 283-284. El Tunisi confirms the truth of Browne's account as 
regards Darfur. "Le sultan possede, en propriete speciale, des terres labourables. 
...A l'epoque des sort en grande pompe, escorte de plus de centjeunes 
femmes — Le prince, une fois arrive en pleine campagne, descend de cheval, 
prend differentes graines, et, a mesure qu'un esclave pioche la terre, il les jette et 
les seme. C'est la premiere semence qui tombe sur le sol, dans la contree ou est 
alors le sultan...." (Voy. au Darfour, p. 169.) 

2 Seligman, Journ. Anth. Inst, xliii, 1913, p. 667. 

3 Flinders Petrie, Hierakonpolis, 1, 9-10, quoted by Seligman, loc. cit. Cp, 
Reisner, The Egyptian Conception of Immortality (Ingersoll Lecture, 191 1), §vu. 

4 Bruce, iv, 469 (Bk. vn, Ch. ix). According to MS. " D 7" there were six Fung 
kings called Badi. 

5 Butler, Arab Conquest..., p. 437. 

6 Burckhardt, Nubia, App. 11, p. 489; and cp. Hornemann's Travels, p. 103. 



A tabular comparison of the Berti and Zaghawa dialects 








































rainy season 





be-a [be'] 



ter [tirri] 















swe (shw£) 















dishte (dishti) 



wotte" (otte) 



distl (dishti) 



timm (timmi) 

a hundred 





A tabular comparison of the dialects of the people of 
Midob, the Birked and the Bardbra 1 





werum (K), werum (D), wera (FM) 
awum (K), owun (D), uwo (FM) 
toskum (K), toskin (D), tiisko (FM) 
kemsum (K), kemsin (D), kemso (FM) 
dijum (K), dijin (D), dija (FM) 
gorjum (K), gorjin (D), gorjo (FM) 
kolladum (K), kolladin (D\ kolloda (FM) 
iduum (K), iduwin (D), fduwo (FM) 
iskodum (K), iskodin (D), oskoda (FM) 
dimnum (K), diminun (D), dim (FM) 
fmil (KDFM) 
sarti (KD) 

dilti (KD), singirti (FM) 
kullu (D) 
kulu (KD) 
en (KD), iden (FM) 
tendi, tod (KD) 
aro (KD) 

ambab (KD), abo (FM) 
agil (KD), ak (FM) 
ter (KD), tar (FM) 
tir (KD), ter (FM) 
kusu (KD) 
eri (KD) 

murti (MF), kaj (KD) 
kis (KD) 

fji (KD), ingissi (FM) 
wissi (KD), winji (FM) 
essi (KD), aman (FM) 

? (N.B. Burckhardt gives "amanga" 
as ="river" inNuba,and"essig" 
in Kanzi.) 

kaj (FM). (N.B. The Dagu use " katche" " 
and "kachin^," the Bayko 
wel, oruel(KD) 
ogid, or ogij, or id 

(N.B. The word for "man" in the 
Dilling hills resembles "kortog^.") 
fu (KD), iw (FM). (N.B. Tama"iwit.") 

tl. (N.B. Tama"tei"') 
am (KD), awu (M), olli (F). (N.B. Tama 

1 Taken from Leo Reinisch's Die Nuba-Sprache (Vienna, 1879). K = Kanzi, 
M=Mahass, D = Dongolowi, F="Fadidsha" (i.e. Sukkot). 

2 Dagu "murteV' Tama "firrat," Fur "murta," Berti "burto," Zaghawa "hirrt^," 
Tekali "murda," Golo "mroto," Fertit (ap. Reinisch) "murta," Digga (Fertft) "murta," 
Banda (Fertit) "berta," Kara (Fertit) "mutta," Kamamil (S. Sennar) "murta," Galla 








tasi, or dasi 






techi, or d£chi 

















a hundred 


mia (Ar.) meirta 










a stone 










































what is 

na urri negoda 

einere nenta 

your name 















urtchi, or ushi 
















ett, or irr 



urti, or urdi, 
or u'di 




















' ** 







HH 43 -t-> 

cd en 


« o £ 

o %^ 

-cd 43-£ 
ho cd ,"£ 


3 -3, 



1-4 33 

13 13 

£ "a 


.22 -cd : -. 
3 •- £ - 

"d « « -i 

13 <£ >. 

3 c s 

^ -s 3). 
5 8 S « 

cd «; XI — ' 
60^5 cd 

Q ' g^ 
Z •• O cu 
D >> -O 

43 -^ •*-! 

f« 33 -cd ^ 
cd 60 <" 
O 0) 


3 OS 
'C -C £ 
n ni eg 

.a 4= 

c3 3 
« 3 43 

,— p 13 

« 3 "3. 
43 => 2 

■a £ 









-* v £<-fc. S 'S T 

^ -a « ~ jo "-S = 

c s •« -5 ^ 
44 ? '5 

O 44 

•s> o 





° s^ — 

►j ■ - J2 i « *« 2 

>P >> 3 S ° -03 

W ^ ^J tn C/l >-H 

aj i*j r-. cu 
« O a! ^ 

^5 o-2 

O M -r? 


•2 2 

« J3 
5p v 5 
o " 


3 o- 







'-3 13 
»co c 

>, in q3 <u 

oj ii D ^ 

43 13 "3 c. 

■ • O O " 

>.^3 .~ja 

33 kJ i3 

cS i-i cd 


H O 





-n -t! T^ 

33 43 ° 






cd 13 s 

> 3 ^ cd cd 

rt ^ 43 it 

»-* — in 3 

3 9'^ a 

■o o - 


o ^) 

6 4^ 

"° 60 
O 60 



HJrt H 


^ cd N 



cd c/i 

8 ° 

cd 43 

a o 





u O 
CU 60 

cd -j 
-3 ^ d 
£H5 g 













O 33 




rv. r*-. rv. r*-. 

60 cd 
3 -C 

cd r- 

3 'en 

cd c/2 60 
^ CO . .60 

Q •• ^d Q 

<; ■•-> cd cu 

cc ^ -^ -° 

^ go -" 

-h cu o 

-cd S 

43 43 


5 £ a 

4= *: 

« ™ 

8 o 

3 *-* 


cd .2 

42 42 
rt cd ^ ~ -o 

a a- S5.13 

(3 O o 

■3 *i ■♦» 


3 O O 

3 3 

s s 

2 S 

3 43 

>. rt -'t? cd 

f*i t3 w -cd 

"3 43 u n 3 ij 

O ai 42- cd -w 45 

J3 a cd 43 3 .. 

Q £»0 o^ 



)3 .«Q 

■cu en 




■ Si 











■3 ,£ 2 "^ 



[ .a -a ^ g 43 g 
s '■£ - -2 

n ^ cd 


35 ? 

-O <3 ' 

3 ? 


3 : 

0--rt V 3 V _, «~ >cu 

cd g 


£ s . 

13 O - 
cd cd - 
3 3 . 
>, >.' 
cd cd , 

42 3 






O 4^ 43 

cu o 
e r5 






3 <u >• S 


. £ I s 

CU i) 5 43 



cd >> 



60 i3 
3 !£ 


3 -cd 

•r 43 

o o 

60 60 
3 3 
O O 

43 60 

>cd > 



-O cd 
■4-t ;— 
~J o 

3 44 

CJ r-H 

>> £ 


•— d rt <8 3 O 

_ «3 ni "* '-5 •-. ' rt _ "3 2 > ao — 1 — 1 .1 ^ _ rt - ^ -<D 

ESSieSSSliSiSII-raSS IISsSs I a - | 

i!ilfi4lTiliii'Sp I &1-B*i I 2 - 1 1 

^s a 3 ~ ^ c g ^ " 

2 rt 3 

-^ ^ o „, - « -rt O - . ^ - 3 O o. H « 2 rt 



rt c S a rt 'g 3 * ,3^0 u as rt _, ._, 

■c o « « o s ^ - « in a '5c ^flj„ « ^ "O ^ * -S .2 5f -3 > 

T3jsiSc2i3- c ' 1 i"'o2rT3 .- — E "3 2 <- 3 x; .o ^> :s -as '3 5 '^ •*> 

t^_^j G -*■ 3 "^ 3 ^ilSc/i — iC .* 


u ao 

l-j .(D 

a 33 .3 

i-H "^ 0* >tri *^J ^^ ^H Q 



rt O 


itlillsillliilisl'I Hill 1 I | I 1 











,- „ 2 « S "2 >£> «<D , <rt S3 rt 



oj > O 



u ™ >-. 



o« § 


O rtS ,§ "3 as 5f - 5f £ ao 

3 ^5 ^j - ac a M g ,3 c 

| S .S.^||||^|IS^|l|a5^ 5 S, < g ) gg^||^g|lgg& , l 

fin ci'-p^^s^^^k ^3^ c^ . ao-c-uiSasvSs 1-1 . s 

o ac ~s -»,■», '5 c ;^< 



g-Srtg J 3§.ti^2l' nM ^ 8 « 5 j= 3fcc£c«£g o J. u a 





A short Vocabulary of 

the Masdlit 












child (fern.) 




„ (male) 




















a stone 











iddo kang 




iddo as 




iddo toro 


de . 

a hundred 

mia (Ar.) 



































the two eyes 







Mala (Ar 
















The Tungur-Fur of Ddr Furnung 

I A day's journey west-north-west of Kuttum lies the district of Dar 
Furnung. To the east it is bounded by Berre district, inhabited by 
Kaitinga (a blend of Tungur and Zaghawa) and Fur, and to the west by 
Serayf (Awlad Mana). To the south-west of Furnung is the range of 
Gebel Si, the home of the still savage KarAkirit Fur. 

Dar Furnung itself consists of a group of desolate high sun-blackened 
peaks, with low hills between them intersected by narrow watercourses 
that flow from springs, and surrounded by cultivable lands where the 
Tungur and Fur have their villages and semi-nomadic Zaghawa come to 
graze their flocks. It takes its name from the holy stone of Furnung, at 
which the headman of the ddr has to make sacrifice if he would avoid 
death or disaster 1 . 

1 Cp. pp. ioo, ioi above for another of these holy stones, in Kerne" district 
west of Gebel Marra. At Furnung it is only the "hakim" (the "Shartai" of the 
"Dar") who sacrifices. The villagers and lesser sheikhs do not, but if one of them 
aspires to be " Shartai" he goes privately to the holy rock and throws a stone onto 
it. If the stone holds, the omen is good; but if it rolls off, the omen is bad for his 


II Ferra is a site among the Furnung hills, near the centre of their 
southern fringe, and is locally famous as being the ancient capital of the 
Tungur and the headquarters of their last independent Sultan Shau 
Dorshid (or Dor el Sid as he is sometimes called). 

As one winds one's way, from the open country lying to the south, 
towards Ferra in the dry summer months, over foothills of sandstone and 
blackened rocks that remind one of the country round Korosko and Ibrim, 
nothing could seem more wild and arid than the prospect on every side 
of high broken plutonic peaks mottled with dry thorny kitr, but suddenly, 
as one enters the circle of the larger hills, the ground dives steeply down 
and at the foot one sees a deep narrow gorge like a miniature Valley of the 
Nile. In places it is twenty or thirty yards wide, in places it is no more than 
a sharp cutting in the rock, and here and there is a tiny glade carpeted 
with green grass and watered from a bubbling spring. 

The sides of the gorge are half hidden by the luxurious foliage of a 
variety of trees, and below runs a perennial stream of sweet spring water, 
'Ayn Ferra, which gives its name to the locality. Here and there are little 
cascades and below them deep, silent pools fringed by high reeds and 
alive with small minnow-like fish. 

The cliffs rise in steep tiers on either side and now and then one sees 
a family of baboons cautiously eying one as one picks one's way on foot 
along the shelves of sandstone or forces a path through the reeds by the 
water's edge. 

The stream flows winding from south to north towards the heart of 
the hills, and, about a mile from its source, on the left, rises sheerly the 
rocky hill of Ferra. 

III Here, overlooking the gorge from a height of some 200 feet was the 
capital of Shau Dorshid, who, it is said, when threatened by the rising 
power of the Fur under Sulayman Solong fled northwards to the Bedayat 
country and was never seen again in Darfur 1 . 

Shau's fortress and palace are perched 

Like an eagle's nest 
Hangs on the crest 
Of purple Apennine 

on the very top of the highest eminence of the hill and command a fine 

Standing here one sees towering above one in the distance on all 
sides rugged inhospitable peaks; far below one to the east winds the 
narrow stream clothed in evergreen verdure, and to the north and west 
some fifty feet below the fort is a stony plateau, the site of the ancient 

1 In view of the traces of Christianity that will be described as existing here- 
abouts, there may be some connection with this flight of Shau to the Bedayat and 
the story (see p. 52 above) that the southern Bedayat were once Christians. 

"Shau" is said to have had another fort and palace at Gebel Mutarrak, on the 
north-eastern fringe of the Furnung hills, some 20 miles from Ferra, but I did 
not visit the site. 


Beyond the gorge, to the east, where a few square miles of hillside 
shelve less steeply, the ground is all ribbed with ancient cultivation 
" terrasses" Now all is overgrown with stunted kitr bush and the lines 
of the stones have been broken by the rains, but at one time all must have 
been cleared and every foot of ground levelled into successive ledges, each 
a foot or so above the other. 

The main entrance to the fort is from the west, that is, from the side 
of the settlement, and the great gateway, three and a half yards broad, is 
flanked by stone walls not less than 12 feet high. Entering here the outer 
line of the defences one mounts along the broad sloping pathway between 
the outer and the inner walls to the fort which crowns the peak. 

The foundations of the fort, like the outer and inner defensive lines 
beyond it, are well built of rough unhewn boulders, but the upper stories 
of the structure, and the inner rooms and dividing walls, are of magnificent 
red brick, hard as iron, metallic in ring and slightly glazed. The labour 
involved in bringing the hundreds of thousands of bricks required from the 
kilns, which lie a mile or more away to the south, must have been enormous, 
for the intervening ground is inconceivably rough, cut and scarred by 
ravines and littered deep in jagged rocks. The actual plan of the fort is 
like nothing but a rabbit warren: galleries run in and out and chamber 
leads to chamber in bewildering manner. All is partly ruined, but the 
outlines can easily be traced. Near the centre is a deep square pit, with 
lower sides and bottom of rock, and upper sides of brick. Higher up, in 
fact at the topmost point of all, one enters a small brick room, perhaps a 
guardroom, and from it descends spirally down steps through a series of 
doorways, each at right angles to and below the last one, to what appears 
to be a dungeon in the rocky foundations of the fort. The steps are made 
of huge burnt bricks 2 J spans long by ij broad 1 . The doorways have 
lintels of wood, long since decayed and crumbling, and small windows 
open at intervals to the outer air. The entrance to the dungeon itself, if 
such it be, is just large enough to admit a man, and beyond is the horrible 
cavity itself, too low for a man to stand in and with a floor space of not 
more than three square yards. Some 50 yards to the north of the fort and 
about 20 feet below it stands the Sultan's (?) house, a medium-sized 
oblong building of red brick. The only remarkable feature of it was the 
ingenious manner in which the inside surface of the walls had been 
plastered with red earth of the exact kind used for making the bricks and 
then subjected to intense heat by the lighting of enormous fires inside the 
room, so that the plaster itself had become hard brick. 

Below the fort and the Sultan's house, about 200 yards to the south- 
west, stands the mosque, a square building of thick walls, with mihrdb 
to the east and four interior pillars. To the casual eye there was nothing 
to distinguish the architecture from that of the red brick and stone mosques 

1 These large bricks are also found here and there in the ruins of the larger 
houses and the fort and mosque — they have also been noticed near Foga in western 
Kordofan on Gebel Zankur, a site lying on the ancient highroad from Nubia to 
Darfur — but the vast majority of the bricks used in all the buildings were of the 
usual size and shape. 


of Gama'i Kurro, on the Wadi Bare between Kebkebia and Kulkul, and 
of Turra in Gebel Marra. But the making of the mihrdb had evidently 
given some trouble, for, though the face of the arch had been negotiated 
successfully, the concave back had been formed by building up a straight 
surface of large bricks and then hewing them into concavity as one would 
hollow out a trough. The houses of the common folk were of stone in their 
lower courses, and presumably roofs of straw were superimposed. Some 
of them were unusually large; the diameter of one close to the mosque 
— the Imam's probably — was eleven yards. 

IV No implements or ornaments were found, but I had not the time or 
the means to dig for them. Broken shards were not infrequent. The 
pottery was of three kinds. The common burmas were obviously of the 
same shape and made in the same way, i.e. kneaded outwards on a mat, 
as the ordinary burma of Darfur and Kordofan, with wide mouth, 
short neck and round belly. The inside and outside surfaces are brick-red 
and the intervening material burnt black. In texture they are very hard 
and thicker than the usual — a very necessary precaution when one con- 
siders the rough treatment they were likely to receive in being carried 
some 200 feet up a sheer slope, littered with rocks, from the stream below. 

There were also larger receptacles, presumably for storing liquid in the 
houses, and these were of coarser and even harder fibre almost indistinguish- 
able from brick, with quite large pebbles embedded in them, generally an 
inch or more thick. 

The third kind of pottery was of the shape of the present-day didang, 
with long graceful neck (slightly bulbous in the middle) and red, glazed 
surface. On the only large fragment I picked up were very roughly incised 
markings, on the belly of the jar, which in form were similar to the brand 
still used by the Fella (or Fellanga) section of the Tungur-Fur. The 
markings are thus : 

The brand is thus 1 : ^ y° 

v At the present day there are no villages in the Furnung hills: all are 

1 This Tungur brand bears obvious resemblances to the "caracteres a lunettes" 
pictured by Doutte (q.v. p. 158). These latter, as used by the Muhammadans of 
North Africa, are said to be derived from Jewish magic, and may represent eyes, 
to symbolize Providence and counteract the evil eye. The brand may have been 
brought by the Tungur to Darfur from Nubia, but, in the lack of any evidence of 
the use of "caracteres a lunettes" in Nubia, it is more probable that they borrowed 
them at a subsequent date from the Tibbu tribes living to the north of Darfur, 
whose brands are not dissimilar. 


outside, where the grazing and cultivable soil are better, but within reach 
of the water supply 1 . 

The villagers themselves are a blend of Tungur and Fur, black but 
with less distinctively negroid features than the Fur of Marra and Si. 
They talk among themselves in the Fur dialect but all seem to know 
Arabic as well. Such of them as I questioned called themselves Tungur, 
no doubt because of the aristocratic associations of the name, and pre- 
served a tradition that they came originally from Dongola, but they ad- 
mitted that many of their fellow- villagers were Fur and that the two races 
had intermarried freely and on no particular system for generations. They 
regarded the Tungur as being the real owners of the ddr. Of the 
criterion whereby they decided whether a child of mixed origin was 
Tungur or Fur I could extract no coherent account. There was some talk 
of the "mother's mother" ^haboba"), but when pressed for details they 
always fell back on the normal Muhammadan Arab custom obtaining in 
such matters. Their Shartdi, Hasan Kanjok, they called a Tungurawi, 
but when I met him some days later and questioned him in the presence 
of the Fur Shartdi of Si and the Tungurawi Shartdi of Kuttum, he 
evidently felt himself in a quandary, and the other two fidgetted uneasily : 
if he called himself a Tungurawi he risked a smile at his pretentiousness 
and a sneer at his pusillanimity, so he hesitated and tried "Tungur- Fur" 
and, when pressed, decided for "Fur." As a matter of fact, "Tungur- 
Fur" is the term which would best describe the people of Furnung. They 
fall into three groups, Fella (Fellanga), Sambella (Sambellanga) and 
Dumua. All of these the Tungur proper and the Fur proper alike regard 
as Fur, they themselves seem to regard the Fella as Tungur rather than 
Fur, and the Sambella as Fur rather than Tungur. 

The name of the Sambella would appear almost certainly to be con- 
nected in some way with that of the Sambelange section of Dagu, who 
consider it to be a corruption of " Shenabla " (sing. " Shambali "), and with 
that of the Sambangato section of Berti 2 . 

1 The Tungur round Furnung and Kuttum, like the Berti and most of the rest 
of the population who cultivate on soft sand in eastern Darfur, 
use for hoeing the ground the "gilmoia" (or "nagara" as the 
Tungur call it, and one notes the word is formed from the 
same root as "Tungur"). This implement is of rough local 
wood and shaped as shewn. The bend at B is a natural one. 
It is rather larger than a right angle. The length from A to B 
is about 27 inches, from B to C about 18. The head is of 
hammered iron and shaped with slightly concave surface as 
shewn. For hoeing the implement is held with the two hands 
at A and used from above downwards and inwards between 
the legs. For making holes into which to drop the seed it is 
also held in both hands, but the cultivator, as he walks along, 
at each step makes with it a short jab into the ground on his 
left side. 

For hoeing in a garden on one's knees a much shorter 
instrument of the same shape but with a very much shorter 
shaft (B to C being only an inch or two) is used. 

2 See paras, vui and vi of this chapter. Compare too the . R „ , , , 

Dagu brands with those of the Fella and of the semi-Tungur „' . , , 

-v r • ,. ■ ., rj ,, L, iron head. 

Kaitinga living among the Zaghawa. ' 


The mark (called " sambella") with which they brand their cattle III 
and donkeys is distinctively Furian in character 1 . The Fella brand, 
on the other hand (see above) is probably of Tungur origin 2 . /TV 

VI The customs of the Fur and the Tungur appear also to have dove- 
tailed in some respects in Furnung. For instance, the holiness of the rock 
of Furnung is probably a Fur conception, adopted by the ruling Tungur. 

Similarly, at 'Ayn Sirra, a few miles from 'Ayn Ferra and also in the 
Furnung hills, we seem to have two ceremonies which have gradually 
become joined into a single observance. 

'Ayn Sirra is a delightful little oasis with a rich water-spring and palm- 
grove 3 , lying just inside the circle of the hills and approached by a narrow 
pass. At the entrance to this pass stands a large boulder called "haggar 
el 'arils " (" the Bride's Stone ") or "haggar el 'dda " ("the Custom Stone "), 
and on the top of it are heaped some hundreds of loose stones interspersed 
with bits of dry cow-dung. The explanation of this, given by soi-disant 
Tungur, was as follows : 

There are certain spirits who reside here and protect the entrance to 
the grove, and any stranger desiring to enter without mishap would need 
to be, so to speak, introduced to them by the proper people (for whom 
see later). 

At the time when the rains first begin Fur and Tungur alike join in 
making offerings in the stereotyped manner at this stone to ensure a good 

This "rain-making" rite may be of Darfur orign, but there are other 
features which certainly are not, and the heap of stones on the top of the 
rock at once calls to mind the exactly similar phenomenon to be seen at 
Gebel Kayli east of the Blue Nile 4 . 

Apart from the rain-making properties of the stone it is used on four 
different occasions, viz. on marriage, on circumcision of a child, on a birth 
and when a hakim (ruler) visits 'Ayn Sirra. From its name the stone 
would seem to be chiefly associated with the occasion of marriage. 

The rites performed on that occasion were said to be as follows : after 
the fdtha has been read and the couple thereby wed — for, needless to 

1 See note on the Kaitinga brand in para, iv of this chapter. _____ 

2 Another so-called Tungur brand used in Dar Furnung is as shewn. A f 
man who belonged on his father's side to the Fella, e.g., and had a Sambella ' I 
mother would use both his own Fella brand and the "Sambella," i.e. most of his 
animals would be marked with the Fella brand, but the minority would carry the 
" sambella." In case of their straying there would thus be a chance of their being 
recognized and claimed by two parties instead of only one. The Fella explained 
more animals would carry the paternal than the maternal brand because " the 
meat only is from the mother, the bone is from the father" — which is apparently a 
popular quotation, since I also heard it at Midob. 

3 The Tungur who own the site say their ancestors brought the palm from 
Dongola. Their only cultivation, dates excepted, is cotton and "bamia." Neither 
red pepper nor onions are grown, though the soil is ideal for both and one expects 
to see them here as at Kuttum, Mellit and other oases where the population is 
similar. Utter inertia is the only explanation, and the people admitted "they just 
felt too tired "('"igizu")! 

* A rather different explanation from that which follows is also suggested in the 
case of I£ayli (see note on p. 45). 


say, Fur and Tungur alike call themselves good Muhammadans — they 
are escorted to the stone by the sheikh of the village or, in his absence, 
by one of his family, or, failing both, by the Imam of the village mosque, 
and there they each smear some dihn (or blood, if an animal has been 
sacrificed) in the form of a cross with their forefingers on the side of the 
boulder, and each deposits a stone or a piece of green grass from the grove 
on the top of it. If the couple are too poor to have afforded a 
sheep or any dihn they make instead the offering of a piece of 
cow-dung. This done, the couple are led on to the water-spring 
in the palm-grove and there the presiding priest — if one may call 
him such — takes a piece of mud from the pool and dabs it on the 
foreheads of the couple, on the tips of their shoulders (in front), on their 
middles 1 , on the points of their knees and in the small of their backs. 
He then binds a twist of green grass from the fringe of the pool round 
each of four ankles and wrists and round both necks, and the ceremony 
is over. 

Mutatis mutandis precisely the same is done, it is said, on the occasion 
of a circumcision or a birth, but in the latter case it is the mother and not 
the child who is the object of the rite. In the case of a hakim visiting 
'Ayn Sirra he is similarly expected — or rather used to be, for these customs 
are falling into disuse — to sacrifice a sheep and smear its blood in the form 
of a cross on the stone, or else to mark it with dihn, and to make his 
offering of a stone or a piece of green grass, and to go to the spring and be 
marked as described above, but — the only difference — a twist of grass 
was placed round his right wrist only. 

The Fur proper (so the "Tungur" say) have no part or lot in these 
rites, and the reason would not seem far to seek. The Tungur, one supposes, 
brought with them from Christian Nubia the recollection of certain church 
rites, in particular the Sign of the Cross, and though the Fur were never 
converted to Christianity their holy stone was utilized by the new-comers. 
On the other hand, the Tungur in time became Muhammadans, witness 
the mosque at Ferra, but both they and the Fur still preserve super- 
stitiously some relics of their ancient faiths. 

1 My informant described this by placing his finger just above his navel, but 
called it his "heart." 



M. S. I. 

[I3 1 ] 


The Progress through Egypt in the Middle Ages of 
certain Arab Tribes now represented in the Sudan 

I At the time of the rise of the prophet Muhammad in the first 
half of the seventh century a.d. the tribes of Arabia were considered 
to fall into two great main groups, the one descended from Kahtan 
("Joctan") the son of 'Abir and the other from his brother Falig, 
the biblical "Peleg, in whose days the earth was divided." 

The first of these groups formed the " Arab el 'Ariba," the older 
and more exclusive Kahtanite or Yemenite stock : they were counted 
the true Arabs, and their original home was the southern portion of 
the peninsula. They consisted of two branches, one descended from 
Himyar and one from Kahlan 1 . 

The second and more northernly group, the "Arab el 
Must'ariba," traced their descent through Adnan to Isma'il, that 
is Ishmael the son of Abraham, and in consequence are generally 
known as the Isma'ilitic or Adnanite stock 2 . 

II The most important division of the Himyaritic branch of Kahtan 
was that descended from Kuda'a: it included such important tribes 
as the Beli, the Beni Kelb and the Guhayna 3 . 

The Kahlan branch also contained several famous tribes. The 
best known of these were Tai, including Gudham and Lakhm, 
Mudhhig, Hamdan, Bagila and el Azd. The last-named again 
contained the two great Ghassanite tribes of el Aus and el Khazrag, 
who were later to be known as "el Ansar," the "Helpers" [of the 
Prophet] . 

III The chief Isma'ilitic tribes were those of Kays Aylan, Rabi'a, 
Kenana, Wail (a section of Rabi'a), Sulaym, Hawazin, Ghatafan, 
Tami'm, and the Prophet's own tribe of Kuraysh. Kuraysh, itself 

1 The term "Himyarite" is, however, used frequently as though it were co- 
extensive with "Kahtanite." 

2 Robertson Smith casts the gravest doubts upon the whole system of Arab 
genealogies (see Kinship and Marriage... Chap, i). It is not at all improbable that 
he is right, but, even so, though many of the assertions of the genealogists may be 
incredible as literal statements of fact, yet they have considerable value if understood 
in a figurative sense— if, in other words, they are taken as parables. It is in this 
liberal sense that the statements made categorically in these chapters must often 
be taken. 

3 Robertson Smith points out that as a matter of fact the Himyaritic origin of 
Kuda'a, though generally accepted by later Arab historians, is extremely doubtful, 
and that the older authorities refer to them as Isma'ilitic. 



a section of Ken ana, contained among others the Beni Makhzum, 
the Beni 'Abbas, and the Beni Ommayya. 

The ancient capital of the Kahtanite Arabs was at Sana'a in the 
Yemen, but a century or so after the Christian era 1 large numbers 
of them migrated northwards in consequence, tradition has it, of the 
bursting of the great dam of Marib, and settled there. 

Thus the Beni Lakhm came to found the Monadira dynasty at 
Hi'ra, near the ancient site of Babylon, and ruled the Arabs of 'Irak 
as vassals of Persia 2 . 

The Ghassan took up their abode near Damascus and from 
about 37 to 636 a. d. maintained a control, under the aegis of the 
Byzantine emperors, over a considerable portion of Syria 3 . 

The Kuda'a group, particularly the Guhayna and Beli, settled 
in the northern half of the Hegaz having all but extirpated the ancient 
tribes of Thammud 4 and Ad, who had previously lived there and 
who are likely to have been cognate to the Hamitic tribes inhabiting 
the opposite African coast 5 . 

IV Previously to Islam the difference between the Kahtanite and 
Isma'ilitic tribes had been to some extent accentuated by a difference 
of language, for the more southernly group spoke Himyaritic; but 
the tribal movements that took place in Arabia after the Christian 
era resulted in a spread of Arabic, and with the acceptation of 
Muhammadanism that language became completely paramount. 

We shall see later that the distinction between Kahtanite and 
Isma'ilitic survives under a rather different guise in the Sudan at 
the present date. 

V Let us now pass to the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs in the 
seventh century. 

The profuseness of details we possess concerning the conquest 
is only equalled by their inconsistency. The chief reason for this is 
to be found in the fact that the earliest writers of all were Copts, 
who were chiefly concerned with matters of church history ; and the 
records of the earliest Arab historians, between whom and the Copts 
there is, in any case, a sad gulf, are either lost or only partially 
extant in the extracts preserved by later writers 6 . 

1 Caussin de Perceval (i, 85-87) puts the bursting of the dam about I20A.D. ( 
but shews that there is considerable divergence of opinion as to the exact date. 

2 Abu el Fida, pp. 122 et seq. and Van Dyck, p. 24. 

3 Abu el Fida, pp. 128 et seq. and Van Dyck, pp. 28-31. 

4 Diodorus's Thamudeni. 

5 Cp. Burton, Land of Midian, II, 220 et seq.; Sale, Prel. Disc. 

6 See Butler, Arab Conquest..., pp. vi-xxi. The difficulties are also increased 
by the inaccessibility of several important MSS. and the general scarcity of adequate 



The Futuh el Bulddn of el Baladhuri, written about 868 a.d., is 
the earliest complete extant record of the conquest from the pen of an 
Arab, and the author makes it clear that even in the ninth century 
there was the greatest difference of opinion concerning the subject. As 
regards the question of the tribal composition of the forces which 
either achieved the conquest or immigrated in the years immedi- 
ately following it the record is particularly scanty. 

A certain amount of disjointed information is however to be 
gleaned from various sources 1 , and of these the most fruitful is the 
treatise written at the beginning of the fifteenth century by el Makrizi 
on the subject of the Arab tribes settled in Egypt 2 . 

By this time many of the tribes who had taken part in the conquest 
of 'Amr ibn el 'Asi had become merged in others who had arrived 
at subsequent periods, or had been borne westwards or southwards 
on the tide of conquest. 

VI GudhAm. One notable exception appears to have been the 
great Kahtanite tribe of Gudham, of whom a large portion had in 
1400 a.d. been occupying the Eastern Delta ["el Hauf"] for some 
750 years 3 . They and the Beni Lakhm were the chief rivals of the 
Kaysite tribes in that locality 4 . 

They were originally a branch of the Beni Tai from the Yemen, 
but they had so completely broken away from the parent stem that 
they may be considered as entirely separate. In the era preceding 
Islam they were settled with some Beni Lakhm and branches of 
Kuda'a in the northern Hegaz from the Red Sea inland to the terri- 
tory of the Beni Kelb 5 . 

The tribe was originally divided into two great branches, the 
Beni Hishm and the Beni Haram 6 , each with numerous subdivisions. 
Few of the former, but practically all the latter, seem to have been 
settled in Egypt 7 . 

Those in the Hauf in the fifteenth century fell under two main 

1 See the chapter which follows. 

2 This treatise, which was found at the time of Napoleon's expedition and 
taken away from Egypt, has been summarized by Quatremere in his Memoires 
Geographiques . . . , and supplemented from other MSS. He calls his precis Memoire 
sur les tribus Arabes etablies en figypte. Wiistenfeld has also made considerable use 
of it in his Register zu den genealogischen Tabellen der Arabischen Stdmme und 
Familien : he refers to it as Abhandlung iiber die in Aegypten eingewanderten arabischen 

3 Makrizi's Memoire..., ap. Quatremere (11, 195). 

4 E.g. in 813 A.D.; see following chapter. 

5 Caussin de Perceval, n, 232. 

6 Wiistenfeld, 5 (for which see Tree 1 at the end of this Part, p. 191). In Quatre- 
mere's Memoires, "Haram" (^j.^.) appears as "Garam" (j>j*?.). 

7 I.e. nearly all the sub-tribes of Beni H aram mentioned by Wiistenfeld are 
included in Makrizi's list of tribes in Egypt. 


denominations, the Zubayb 1 and the Beni Kumayl 2 , and held many 
towns in fief 3 . 

It appears from el Makrizi 's treatise that the subsections known 
collectively as the Zubayb were the Beni Kurra 4 , the Beni Zayd, 
the Beni Bu'ga 5 , and the Beni Suwayd 6 . Among the Beni Kumayl 
Makrizi includes, firstly, the "Beni Sa'ad," the descendants, that is, 
of the five Sa'ads mentioned in Wiistenf eld's tree 7 ; secondly, the 
Beni Rashid 8 ; thirdly, the Halaba 9 ; fourthly, the Beni 'Ukba 10 ; 
fifthly, the Aidh 11 ; sixthly, the Beni Zayd Menat. 

Of the Beni 'Ukba some were in Syria, round about Damascus 12 
and others round Aila 13 . The rest were in the Hauf. 

It seems that some of these latter at some time or another joined 
the Beni Hilal 14 , and others, we shall see, eventually found their way 
to northern Kordofan and became the nucleus of the Kababish 

Another section of Gudham, closely related to the Halaba and 
the Beni 'Ukba and represented in Egypt, were the Beni Rudayni 15 . 

Now the term Beni Kumayl, it seems, properly applied only to all 

1 Wiistenfeld, "Dhobeib"; Quatremere, "Dabib." Wiistenfeld follows a 
definite system of orthography, which Quatremere does not. In quoting the 
former I alter the spelling to suit the orthography I have followed throughout. 

2 Quatremere, " Kemil." 

3 See Makrizi, ap. Quatremere (il, 193, 194). 

4 We shall meet with Beni Kurra again as a branch of Beni Hilal settled at 
Barka among the Ketama Berbers prior to the Beni Hilal invasion of N. Africa. 
It is useless to speculate as to whether there is any connection between the two or 
not. Probably there was. (See later, sub Beni Hilal, and compare the case of 
the Beni 'Ukba.) 

6 Quatremere, " Badjah." 6 Quatremere, " Souid." 

7 Makrizi obviously means that the term Beni Sa'ad had five different connota- 
tions according to the particular Sa'ad referred to. It is clear from the tree that 
some of the five included others. There are some slight discrepancies between 
Wiistenfeld and Makrizi here: e.g. the latter {ap. Quatremere) speaks of Sa'ad 
ibn Afsa instead of Sa'ad ibn Malik ibn Afsa, and Sa'ad ibn Malik ibn Malik 
instead of Sa'ad ibn Malik ibn Zayd Menat. 

8 There were three descendants of Suwayd called Rashid, and "Beni Rashid" 
was probably used in the same way as was " Beni Sa'ad." 

9 These Makrizi divides into Halaba ibn Suwayd and Halaba ibn Bug'a. If 
Wiistenfeld is correct the former should be Halaba ibn Malik ibn Suwayd. 

10 Quatremere, "Akabah." 

11 They lived between Cairo and Aila (Makrizi, ap. Quatremere, 11, 194). Aidh 
('Aids) does not occur in Wiistenfeld as a section of Gudham. 

12 So, too, Ibn Khaldun, 9-1 1. They reached as far south as Medina. There are 
still a few families of them round Muwayla. 

13 Aila, or 'Akabat Aila, was the mediaeval name. It is the Elath of ancient 
times, the 'Akaba of the present. (See Muir, Life of Mahomet, p. lxxviii, and 
Burton, Land of Midian, I, 231.) 

14 Makrizi {ap. Quatremere, 11, 201) speaks of the Beni 'Ukba among the Beni 
Hilal sections and as living at 'Asfun and Esna. By Leo's time the Beni 'Ukba had 
become a main section of Beni Hilal {q.v. later). 

15 Quatremere, " Benou Radiny." 

ill vii. IN THE MIDDLE AGES 135 

or some of the Beni Kurra section 1 , and neither the Beni Sa'ad nor 
the other five subsections were really descended from Kumayl at all. 

It is therefore probable that the Beni Kumayl had obtained the 
headship over a large number of closely related sections of Gudham, 
and that these were generally known as Beni Kumayl for that 
reason. It is clear also that among the Beni Kumayl were numbers 
of alien tribesmen, for Makrizi speaks of the Zayd Menat sub- 
section as including Kenana, Beni 'Urwa 2 and Beni Kelb, and 
certainly none of these were Gudham. 

In addition to the ?ubayb and Beni Kumayl there were other 
branches of Gudham near Alexandria 3 . 

In the time of Saladin (Salah el Din), when, that is, the Kurdish 
dynasty of 'Ayyubites had supplanted the Fatimites in Egypt in 
1 171 a.d., the tribe of Gudham, who had been very powerful under 
the previous dynasty, suffered something of a reverse, and their place 
was to some extent taken by the Beni Tai proper 4 , and in particular 
by the Tha'aliba branch of that tribe. 

VII Tai. These Beni Tai had entered Egypt at a later date than 
the Beni Gudham. When Makrizi wrote they had been largely 
represented in Egypt only for a period of rather more than three 
centuries. The Awlad Sinbis branch had increased in numbers in 
southern Palestine to an alarming extent and caused considerable 
trouble to the local government. So in 1050 a.d. the vizier Muham- 
mad el Yaziiri turned them out 5 and they moved to the Bahira 
province in the north of Egypt and settled there among the Gudham- 
ite Beni Kurra. These Awlad Sinbis consisted of Awlad Labi'd 
(including Awlad Hazm 6 and Awlad Mahzab), Awlad 'Amr, 
Awlad 'Adi (including Awlad Aban), and Awlad Fatah 7 . 

The power of the Tai increased under the Fatimites, and when 
the 'Ayyubites conquered Egypt a fresh posse of the tribe came in 
with them. These were the Garm and the Tha'aliba sections, who 
had previously been settled in Syria 8 . 

Throughout the 'Ayyiibite period (11 71-1249) these Beni Tai 
maintained their power but the feud with the Gudham did not die 

1 The only Kumayl mentioned by Wustenfeld was son of Kurra. 

2 Quatremere, "Arwah." 3 Makrizi, ap. Quatremere (n, 197). 

4 It will be remembered that the Gudham were themselves originally a branch 
of Tai. 

5 Quatremere, 11, 191. 6 Wustenfeld, " Hizmir." 

7 Quatremere, 11. 191 ; Wustenfeld, 1, 422 and 11, 6. 

8 Quatremere, loc. cit.\ Wustenfeld, I, 183. The name Garm was a surname 
applied to a certain Tha'aliba ibn 'Amr on account of a woman whom he brought 
up, but there was another separate branch of Tai also called Tha'aliba, viz. that 
referred to in Part iv (D 1, vn), in speaking of the Messiria. 


out, for we read of a sanguinary encounter between the Tha'aliba 
and the Gudham in Sharkia Province about 1237 A. d., and this battle 
was only the culminating point of a long series of attacks and counter- 
attacks which had been taking place for years. The Gudham, it 
appears, were partizans of the Governor of Syria and in league with 
the Mezata and Zenata Berbers of Bahira Province, while the 
Tha'aliba supported the Sultan of Egypt. After the fight in 1237 
a treaty of peace was arranged 1 . 

An attempt by Saladin in the first year of his reign to reduce the 
number of Tai horsemen caused such resentment that it was aban- 
doned. The cavalry of Gudham, however, were reduced from 7000 
to 300 2 . 

When Mu'izz 'Izz el Din 3 , the first of the Bahrite Mamluks, 
supplanted the 'Ayyubites, many of the Arabs at once rose in resent- 
ment against the rule of a barbarian "slave," and in 125 1 formed a 
league of rebellion 4 . 

The Beni Tai took a prominent part in this revolt, and they were 
joined by some Awlad 'Udhra, who were also Kahtanites 5 , and 
many Kenana, including such branches of that great tribe as the 
Awlad Mudlag and the descendants of 'Adi ibn Ka'ab 6 . The rebels 
were, however, signally defeated, and compelled to scatter into 
Gharbia Province 7 . 

The Tha'aliba branch appear to have been powerful in Morocco 
in 1360 8 . Several tribes in the Sudan are descended, according to 
tradition, from them ; and some of the Bakkara may claim a certain 
degree of probability for the pretension. 

Two other large Kahtanite tribes represented at the conquest of 
Egypt are the Beli and the Guhayna. Both were main branches of 
Kuda'a 9 , that is descended from Himyar, whereas the Tai were 
descended from Kahlan the brother of Himyar. 

1 Makrizi, Selilk..., p. 443. 

2 Makrizi, loc. cit. p. 106. Blochet reads " Djoudamls," but I assume this to 
be a misreading of the Arabic text, viz. ^-.^j^h., or ^-^o^efc, instead of 

3 Muir's "Emir Eibek," "Ai-beg," etc. 4 Quatremere, 11, 192 

5 Quatremere, "Adhrah"; Wustenfeld, '"Odsra." Wustenfeld gives four 
" 'Odsras," all Kahtanite tribes. 

6 From Makrizi (q.v. ap. Quatremere) one might suppose the Awlad 'Adi and 
the Kenana and the Mudlag were separate tribes. Reference to Wustenfeld (q.v. 
N and P) shews they were all of the same great Isma'ilitic family, though no doubt, 
as often happens, a certain portion of it had the right par excellence to the use of 
the name Kenana. 

7 Makrizi, Khetdt, 1, 210. 8 Ibn Khaldun, I, 147. 

9 The Kuda'a succeeded the ancient Gurhumite dynasty in the Hegaz and were 
the guardians of the Ka'aba until they were replaced about 406 A.D. by the Kusai 
section of Kuraysh (Van Dyck, pp. 34, 35). 

ill viii. IN THE MIDDLE AGES 137 

VIII BELL The Beli in the Days of Ignorance had been settled in 
Syria 1 , but at the time of the conquest 'Omar ibn el Khattab trans- 
ferred a large number of them to Egypt, and one of the quarters of 
Fostat was set aside for them 2 . That they were one of the most 
numerous of the tribes that immigrated at this period is shewn by 
the fact that they were included with the Ghafik 3 and one other 
tribe 4 as "the three tribes of Egypt." 'Amr himself is said to have 
used this phrase, and of the Beli he added "They have mostly been 
Companions of the Prophet and their principal quality is that they 
are excellent cavaliers 5 ." 

Disputes soon arose in Egypt between them and their kinsfolk 
the Guhayna, but an agreement was finally reached whereby the 
Beli settled in the country lying between Egypt and the port of 
'Aidhab 6 on the Red Sea, that is in the northern part of the Bega 
country which was later inhabited by the 'Ababda 7 . In Makrizi 's 
day there were numerous branches of them in Egypt 8 and with them 
were commingled certain smaller communities drawn from the 
Isma'ilitic tribes of Beni Ommayya, Thakif (a branch of Kays 
'Aylan), and Hudhayl. Other Beli were further south in the 
Akhmi'm district with the Guhayna 9 . 

At present they are a large tribe on the Arabian coast round 
Wegh, neighbours of the Guhayna, and there are others settled in 
Egypt round Girga 10 . 

1 They had previously been in southern Arabia. See Burton, Land of Midian, 

I, 296, and 11, 141, etc. 

2 Ibn Dukmak, ap. Butler, p. 279; el Kindi, ap. Evetts (Abu Sdlih...), p. 109. 
Other quarters were occupied by Beni Bahr, Beni Salamat, Yashkur (a section of 
Lakhm), Beni Hudhayl ibn Mudraka, Beni Naid, Beni el Azrak, etc. 

3 See p. 156, note. 

4 Bouriant gives "Maharrah" (d^a*«o ?) as its name. There was no such tribe. 
It is probable that "Mudr" ( j-a-o) is meant. 

5 Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 469. Burton gives an account of them in Land of Midian, 

II, 141 et seq. 

6 'Aidhab lay practically due east from Aswan, near the ancient Berenice: see 
Makrizi, Khetdt, I, pp. 41 and 43, and Wustenfeld, sub Bali ben 'Amr. 

7 See Makrizi, ap. Quatremere (11, 202), and Wustenfeld, 1, 106. The boundaries 
of the Beli were on the north the bridge of Shuhai and on the south the neighbour- 
hood of Kamula (q.v. in Makrizi, Khetdt, I, 209). 

8 E.g. B. Hani, B. Harm, B. Sowad, B. Nab, etc. (Makrizi, ap. Quatremere, 11, 
202; Wustenfeld, loc. cit.). 

9 Both are included by Makrizi among the most powerful tribes of Upper Egypt 
(see Part II, Chap. 2). 

10 The ruling section in both cases is the Ma'akla. It is possible the name sur- 
vives in the Ma'akla of Kordofan and Darfur (q.v. in Part III). The Sheikh of this 
branch at Girga gave me the name of ten sections of Beli known to him and living 
round Wegh and Girga : they were 

Ma'akla Mowahib Sahama Wahashsha Hilban 

Rumuth H° mr an Beraykat Ferei'at Rubidda 

Burton (loc. cit. II, 141) specifies twenty-three principal sections. 


IX GUHAYNA. The Guhayna, prior to their immigration into 
Africa, had been settled in the Hegaz from south of Yanbu' to north 
of el Haura, and their chief neighbours were Beli, Gudham, and 
Kenana 1 . Many never left these parts, and at the present day the 
headquarters of the Guhayna are still at Yanbu', and the Beli are 
still their neighbours to the north 2 . 

They were among the first of the Beduins to accept Islam 3 . 
Some 600 of those who crossed to Africa took part in 647 a.d. in the 
first Libyan expedition 4 ; and in 869 numbers of them joined the 
Beni Rabi'a in their invasion of the Bega country 5 . 

About 1400 a.d. Makrizi speaks of them as the most numerous 
tribe in Upper Egypt. They had been in Ashmunayn district, but were 
ejected thence by the Kuraysh in the Fatimite era and had settled 
round el Siut and Manfalut 6 . 

It is, however, more important for our purpose to note that by 
the end of the fourteenth century they had penetrated far into Nubia. 
Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) tells us: 

In Upper Egypt from Aswan and beyond it as far as the land of the 
Nuba and that of Abyssinia are numerous tribes and scattered sections, all 
of them belonging to Guhayna, one of the branches of Kuda'a. They 
filled those parts and conquered the lands of the Nuba and swarmed over 
those of Abyssinia and shared their countries with them 7 . 

Elsewhere 8 the same author, speaking of events that occurred 
only a decade or two before his own birth and therefore within 
common recollection, says: 

And with the conversion of the Nubians the payment of tribute ceased 9 . 
Then the tribes of the Guhayna Arabs spread over their country and 
settled in it and ruled it and filled it with rapine and disorder. At first 
the kings of the Nuba attempted to repulse them but they failed: then 
they won them over by giving them their daughters in marriage 10 . Thus 
was their kingdom disintegrated, and it passed to certain of the sons of 
Guhayna on account of their mothers [s.c. being Nuba of the blood-royal], 

1 See Wiistenfeld, 1, 186-7, su0 " 'Goheina ben Zeid." 

2 The boundary between the two is nearly 50 miles north of Haura (Burton, 
loc. tit. 11, 133). 

3 Caussin de Perceval, in, 217. 

4 El Nuwayry, ap. Ibn Khaldun, Hist. Berb. 1, pp. 313 ff. Some 700 Ghatafan 
and Fezara, etc., accompanied them. 

6 Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 569. 

6 Ibid. 11, 710. Sir C. Wilson mentions them among the semi-nomadic tribes 
north of Aswan (loc. tit. p. 4). 

7 Ed. de Slane, pp. 9-10; ed. ar. vol. 6, p. 5. 

8 Ed. ar. vol. 5, p. 429. This passage, not having been translated by de Slane, 
has generally escaped notice. 

9 See Part II, Chap. 2. The Arabic is ^fr^^^U ^j-sj-M C -adaltl. 

10 j-^cd\j ^v^uLa^ ^J\ l^jl-w^J. 


according to the custom of the infidels as to the succession of the sister or 
the sister's son 1 . So their kingdom fell to pieces and the A'rab 2 of Guhayna 
took possession of it 3 . But their rule shewed none of the marks of states- 
manship because of the inherent weakness of a system which is opposed 
to discipline and the subordination of one to another. Consequently they 
are still divided up into parties and there is no vestige of authority in their 
land, but they remain nomads following the rainfall like the A'rab of Arabia. 
There is no vestige of authority in their land since the result of the com- 
mingling and blending that has taken place has merely been to exchange the 
old ways for the ways of the Bedouin Arab 4 . 

The most important mention of the Guhayna in the Sudanese 
nisbas is to the effect that they reached a total of "fifty-two tribes 
in the land of Soba on the Blue Nile under the rule of the Fung, but 
most [of them] are in the west, [namely in] Tunis and BornuhV 
Of the movement of the Guhayna south-westwards into Kordofan 
and Darfur more will be said in the chapters that follow. 

X Lakhm. The tribes of Lakhm were kinsfolk of the Beni Gud- 
ham, and, like them, strictly speaking, a branch of Tai. 

We have seen how they came originally from Yemen and settled 
on the confines of Persia. They founded a dynasty there in 268 a.d. 6 
and its records are chiefly of warfare against the tribes to the west of 
them in Syria, Ghassan, Beni Bukr, Beni Tamim 7 and others. 

In old days they and Gudham had both been worshippers of the 
planet Jupiter 8 , but by the end of the fifth century, if not earlier, 
Christianity had made considerable strides to the east of Syria and 
many of the Arab tribes, including Lakhm, had been converted 
to it 9 . 

The rule of the Lakhm at Hi'ra ended with the rise of Islam. 

1 The Arabic of this passage is as follows : 

See notes on pp. 92, 93 and 178, re matrilinear descent. Cp. Quatremere, 
II, 38: "Chez les Nubiens, dit Abou-Selah, lorsqu'un roi vient a mourir et qu'il 
laisse un fils et un neveu du cote de la soeur, celui-ci monte sur le trone, de pre- 
ference a l'heritier naturel." 

2 wjljfil, the word used exclusively for nomad Arabs. 

3 The reference is evidently to the southern "kingdoms." The Beni Kanz, etc., 
were still all-powerful farther north. 

5 See "BA" cxxm in Part iv. 

6 See Van Dyck, pp. 24-28. Butler (p. 214 note) quotes Ibn Dukmak as denying 
their right to be called Arabs. This denial is unreasonable. 

7 These wars took place between 473 and 576 a.d. 

8 Caussin de Perceval, 1, 349. 

9 The Lakhmite king el Na'aman Abu Kabus (588-611 A.D.) was a great builder 
of churches (Van Dyck, loc. cit.). 


At the conquest of Egypt the Yashkur section of the tribe estab- 
lished themselves upon the hill called after them, the site of Ibn 
Tulun's mosque 1 . Many other sections of the tribe also entered 
Egypt in the seventh and eighth centuries and settled round Alex- 
andria 2 . In 798 a.d. some 15,000 Andalusian refugees, who had been 
banished from Spain by the Ommayyad prince el Hakam and had 
landed at Alexandria, entered into a league with the Beni Lakhm; 
but the two parties soon quarrelled and in 815 the Andalusians suc- 
ceeded in taking the town 3 . 

During the same half-century the Beni Lakhm were involved in 
the civil war that followed the death of Harun el Rashi'd and evinced 
great turbulence at intervals 4 . 

In Makrizi's time they were very numerous in Upper Egypt and 
some thirty of their sections are mentioned by name. There were 
also some of them still settled round Alexandria 5 . 

Among other Kahtanite tribes portions of which are known to 
have entered Egypt at the time of the conquest or soon after it we 
may note the Beni Hamdan, the large Himyaritic family of Dhu 
Asbah to which belonged Malik ibn Anas the founder of the Maliki 
sect 6 , and a section of Azd, all of whom settled at Giza 7 . 

Let us now take the best known of the Isma'ilitic or 'Adnanite 
tribes who took part in the invasion of Egypt. The most famous 
are the Ken ana and the Kuraysh. 

XI KenAna and KlJRAYSH. The eponymous ancestor of the 
Kenan A may have lived about 100 a.d. 8 The home of his descendants 
for successive centuries had been in the Hegaz and Tihama round 
Mekka 9 . The great sub-tribe of Kuraysh became separate from the 
parent stock some time before the rise of the Prophet and their most 
famous family, that of Kusai, obtained the guardianship of the 
Ka'aba about 440 a.d. 10 

1 Makrizi, Khetdt, 1, 361. There was also a section of Rabi'a called Yashkur 
(Caussin de Perceval, II, 270). 

2 One of their number was Governor of Egypt in 750 a.d. (Lane-Poole, Hist. 

P- 49)- 

3 Makrizi, loc. cit. 11, 493, 494. Alexandria was retaken in 827 and the Anda- 
lusians were expelled to Crete: see Lane-Poole, loc. cit. p. 36, quoting Dozy, 11, 
68-76, and Quatremere. 

4 Lane-Poole, loc. cit. p. 38; Makrizi, loc. cit. 1, 269. 

5 Makrizi, ap. Quatremere (11, 197). 

6 Wiistenfeld, 3. 

7 Vide Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 606 and 607, and Abu Salih (p. 173). The latter 
speaks of Giza as built exclusively for the Hamdan : a note by Everts gives a refer- 
ence to el Siuti's Husn el Muhadira, 1, 81 (Arabic). Cp. Butler, p. 431. 

8 Caussin de Perceval, loc. cit. Table VIII. 

9 Ibid. 1, 193, and Wiistenfeld, 1, 268. 

10 Caussin de Perceval, 1, 235. 

II. i. xi. IN THE MIDDLE AGES 141 

At the beginning of the seventh century both they and the bulk 
of Kenana still worshipped the idol Uzza 1 , and the two tribes were 
accustomed to act in unison in time of war 2 . 

When the Prophet proclaimed his mission he met with the most 
serious opposition from his own tribesmen of Kuraysh, and it was 
they and other Kenana who signally defeated him in 625 at Ohod 
and attempted in the following year to besiege him at Medina 3 . 

In 630 Muhammad took Mekka and the idol of Uzza was broken 
to pieces by Khalid ibn Walid 4 . The Kuraysh then submitted. 

The date and extent of the Kenana immigration into Egypt are 
both uncertain, but in the time of the Patriarch Shenudi's biographer, 
at the end of the seventh century, the Beni Mudlag section were 
strong enough to besiege Alexandria, sack monasteries, and refuse 
to pay taxes until an army was sent against them 5 . 

In 818 a.d., and again thirteen years later, we find the Kenana, 
and in particular the Beni Mudlag section, which appears to have 
been more or less independent of the main tribe, and to have been 
very prone to rebellion, taking part in the Coptic revolts 6 . 

In 1249, when Louis IX of France besieged Damietta, the 
garrison consisted of Kenana. They fled, however, on the first 
approach of the enemy, and in consequence the Sultan hung as 
many of them as he could catch 7 . 

By the end of the fourteenth century the Kenana proper in 
Egypt were divided into three main divisions, the Damra 8 , the Layth 
and the Firas : their headquarters were round Sakia Kolta. 

The Kuraysh included the Awlad 'Adi ibn Ka'ab, the Beni 
Makhzum, the Beni Ommayya, the Beni 'Abbas and many others, 
and may be assumed to have been well represented at the conquest 
of Egypt since both 'Amr ibn el 'Asi and el Zubayr ibn el 'Awwam, 
who reinforced him, and several others of the more famous chieftains 
were tribesmen of Kuraysh 9 . Many more immigrated with succes- 

1 Caussin de Perceval, I, 269. Other Kenana worshipped the Moon and Alde- 
baran (ibid. 1, 349, and cp. Van Dyck, p. 38). 

2 E.g. in 580 a. d. broke out the famous "Holy Wars" between the Kuraysh 
and other branches of Kenana on the one hand and the Beni Hawazin on the 
other: these lasted for about ten years (Caussin de Perceval, loc. cit. 1, 296 ff.). 

3 Ibid. Ill, 90. 4 Caussin de Perceval, in, 241 ff. 

5 MS. Arab 140, pp. 33 ff., ap. Quatremere, 11, 198. Shenudi died in 451. His 
biography was written in 685 or 690 (Butler, Arab Conquest..., pp. 87 and 88). 

6 E.g. see Makrizi, Khetdt, n, 494, 495, 496. 

7 Makrizi, Seluk, p. 512; Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 232. 

8 Wiistenfeld (N), "Dhamra"; Quatremere, " Damrah." 

9 Ibn 'Abd el Hakam, as quoted by Abu el Mahasin, gives a list of the " Ashab " 
who accompanied 'Amr. Nearly all of these were Kurayshites, and of them, again, 
the majority, including 'Amr and Zubayr, belonged to the Beni Ka'ab section 
(see Butler, p. 229 note). 


sive Ommayyad and 'Abbasid governors 1 , and we shall see that at 
least one party of them crossed the Red Sea into the Sudan in the 
eighth century 2 . Early in the tenth century the branch descended 
from Ga'afir ibn Abu Talib was expelled from Mekka by the Beni 
Husayn and from the country north of it by the Beni Harb, and 
took refuge in Egypt. In Ibn Khaldun's time they were settled 
between Aswan and Kus with the Beni Kanz, and were known as 
the Shurafa el Ga'afira: they were chiefly employed in trade 3 . The 
Ga'afira of the present day are their descendants. 

In 1400 the Kuraysh were mostly settled round Ashmunayn 
whence they had ousted the Guhayna ; others lived side by side with 
the Guhayna in el Shit and Manfalut districts, or scattered through- 
out Upper Egypt 4 . 

Among their chief subdivisions Makrizi mentions the Beni 
Ga'afir, the Beni Talha, the Beni Zubayr, the Beni Shayba, the 
Beni Makhzum, the Beni Ommayya, the Beni Zahra, and the Beni 
Sahm (the family of 'Amr ibn el 'Asi) 5 . 

XII KAYS 'AylAn. About 727 a.d. a portion of the great tribe of 
Kays 'Aylan was brought from the Upper Negd of Arabia by the 
treasurer 'Obaydulla ibn el Habhab and settled in the eastern Hauf 6 . 
In that year a Kaysite, el Walid ibn Rifa'a el Fahmi, was Governor 
of Egypt 7 . 

According to Makrizi only a few individuals of the Fahm and 
'Ad wan sections of the tribe had previously been in Egypt, but this 
statement seems inaccurate, for we know that between 709 and 727, not 
counting el Walid, there had been no less than three Kaysite Governors 
of Egypt, two of the Fahm and one of the 'Abs section, and these 
would not have come unattended by numbers of their own tribesmen. 
El Kindi, too, mentions 8 that at the time of the conquest a part of 
el Fostat was laid out by the tribe of "Kinana ibn 'Amr ibn el Kibr 
ibn Fahm 9 ," i.e. by a section of Kays. We shall also see that other 
sections of Kays were well represented before 727 a.d. 

1 For the number of these see following chapter, para. vm. 

2 See following chapter, para. xi. 

3 Ibn Khaldun, ed. de Slane, I, 9-1 1 ; ed. ar. vol. 6, pp. 5, 6, Bk. 1.1; cp. Makrizi, 
Khetdt, 11, 710. 

4 Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 710. 

5 Quatremere, II, 17. 

6 See Makrizi, Khetdt, 1, 229. Lane-Poole (Hist. p. 28) gives the date as "about 
732." Caussin de Perceval puts the date of the tribe's eponymous ancestor Kays 
at about 68 a.d. There were only four generations between him and 'Adnan 
(Caussin de Perceval, Vol. 1, Table VIII). 

7 Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 48. 

8 El Khetdt..., ap. Abu Salih, p. no. 

9 See Wustenfeld, D, where "el Qein" is read for "el Kibr." 

II. i. xii. IN THE MIDDLE AGES 143 

Ibn el Habhab at first collected one hundred families of Kays: 
these were given lands near Balbays on the south-east side of the 
Delta and bought camels and horses and engaged in the transport 
trade between the sea-coast and the interior so successfully that the 
news of their prosperity led five hundred more families of Kays to 
immigrate and join them. This process continued, and within a year 
of the original immigration there were fifteen hundred families of 
the tribe, chiefly members of the great Beni Sulaym branch, settled 
round Balbays. By 750 a.d. the number had been doubled. 

They soon turned their hand to brigandage and in 779 had to be 
severely repressed by the governor Ibn Mamdud 1 . 

In the first half of the next century they revolted every few 
years 2 . Makrizi speaks of a rebellion in the Hauf in 802 caused by 
the oppressive land tax, and the identity of the rebels is indicated by 
the fact that "twenty-four heads of Kaysite chiefs" were sent to 
el Fostat by the government representative. 

In 807 a similar rising took place and was suppressed by the 
treacherous seizure of the chief sheikhs in the Hauf, who, it is specified, 
were originally Yemenites and Beni Kays. 

Twenty-two years later the same causes led again to the same 
result, and all the Hauf and most of the rest of the Delta rose in arms : 
it was only after a year of fighting, in which the rebels had distinctly 
the advantage, that some sort of order was restored. Even so, in 831 , 
the whole of Lower Egypt, and not merely the Beni Kays and their 
neighbours, was in revolt. 

The result of these insurrections was certainly not to weaken the 
power of the Beni Kays, for they remained sufficiently powerful to 
be recognized as the protagonists of the Isma'ilitic tribes against the 
rival Yemenites or Kahtanites in Egypt 3 , and when Harun el Rashid 
died in 808 and both of his sons claimed the Khalifate, one of them 
astutely nominated the chief of the Beni Kays to be Governor of 
Egypt and owed his success there entirely to this manoeuvre. The 
opponents of the Beni Kays on this occasion were chiefly Lakhm 
and Gudham 4 . 

In Makrizi 's day the term Kays was used practically to denote 
not only the descendants of Kays 'Aylan but also those of his grand- 
father Mudr and of the latter's father Nizar 5 . 

1 Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 33. 

2 Makrizi, Khetdt, 1, 230-232. 

3 Makrizi, ap. Quatremere, 11, 497. 

4 Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 508, 509. Cp. Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 35. 

5 The badge of "I£ays" was a red flag: that of "Yemen" a white one (see 
Quatremere, he. cit.). 


They must, too, have largely intermarried with the Berbers in 
Egypt, for we have the great Luata branch of the latter about 1400 a. d. 
actually calling themselves descendants of Kays 'Aylan 1 . 

Now some of the main branches of Kays had at an early date 
become sufficiently independent to be no longer spoken of under 
that denomination in common parlance. 

About 563 a.d., for instance, the bloody " War of el Dahis " broke 
out between the Beni Fezara and the Beni 'Abs, both independent 
sections of the Ghatafan branch 2 . 

XIII FezAra. These Fezara in the Prophet's day were to all 
intents an independent tribe and lived near Mekka. They and the 
Beni 'Abs submitted to Islam in 629, but revolted for a time against 
Abu Bukr in 632 s . 

From el Nuwayry 4 we learn that some Ghatafan and Fezara 
took part with Guhayna and others in the expedition which 'Abdulla 
ibn Sa'ad made to the west of Egypt in 647. 

This would not be compatible with the statement of Makrizi that 
there were no Kays in Egypt till 727 a.d. were it not assumed that 
the Fezara had become so independent that their Kaysite origin had 
been forgotten 5 . 

Subsequently, other Fezara accompanied the Beni Hilal when 
the latter entered Egypt in the eleventh century, and the remarks of 
Idrisi in n 54 and of Ibn Sa'id a century later lead one to think that 
this or an earlier group of Fezara coalesced with the Berbers to such 
a degree as hardly to be distinguishable from them 6 . 

Other Fezara remained in Egypt. Makrizi speaks of them as 
settled in Upper Egypt, Kaliub Province and Cairo 7 . Even more of 

1 Quatremere, 11, 207. 

2 It lasted till 608 a.d.: see Caussin de Perceval, 11, 429 and 499; Abu el Fida, 
pp. 140 et seq. ; Van Dyck, p. 38 ; and Wiistenfeld, H. The war arose out of a horse- 
race in which foul play took place. 

3 Caussin de Perceval, III, 218, 345, 362. 

4 Ap. Ibn KhaldOn, 1, 313-447. See also MSS. A 11, liv, and D 6, xm in 
Part iv, from which it seems some of them may have accompanied 'Abdulla ibn 
Sa'ad's expedition of 641-642. 

6 Caussin de Perceval (Table X b) puts the date of the eponymous ancestor of 
the Fezara at about 300 a.d. There are three generations between him and Ghatafan 
the grandson of Kays. 

6 Ibn Sa'id {q.v. ap. Ibn KhaldQn, pp. 9-1 1) says: "Among the descendants 
of Ghatafan there are at Barka the Hayb, the Ruaha, and the Fezara." Idrisi 
(p. 290, ap.Carette,Recherches...,pp. I26ff.) speaks of the territories of Old Ptolemais 
as inhabited by Zenata and Fezara, and alludes to them as Berber tribes arabicized. 
The Zenata were of course Berbers. Some Fezara remained in North Africa and 
preserved their tribal integrity: M. Carette (loc. cit. p. 445) mentions them in 1853 
as among the tribes in the province of Constantine. 

7 Quatremere, 11, 207. There are still Fezara in Egypt (Klippel, p. 9; and cp. 
Sir C. Wilson, p. 4). 

II. i. xiv. IN THE MIDDLE AGES 145 

them must have found their way to the Sudan, for, though the name 
is now seldom heard, it was used previous to the Mahdia almost 
generically to denote the camel-owning tribes of Kordofan and 
Darfur 1 , and a perusal of the nisbas that follow will make it clear 
that a great number of the Sudanese Arabs who do not aspire to call 
themselves Beni 'Abbas claim descent from the Fezara, Ghatafan, 
Beni Dhubian and other tribes of Kays 'Aylan. 

XIV Beni HilAl and Beni Sulaym. Another great sub-tribe of 
Kays was the Beni Hilal. These were, genealogically considered, 
a section of the Hawazin who, like the Beni Sulaym, were a branch 
of that main division of Kays called the 'Ikrima 2 . 

That portion of the 'Ikrima which was generally known by the 
name will be met with later in speaking of the Awlad Kanz at 
Aswan 3 . The Beni Hilal at some fairly early period 4 had become 
separated from the main tribe in the same way as had the Fezara, 
and their home at the beginning of the seventh century was with 
their relatives the Beni Sulaym near Tayf in the plains which lie 
east of the mountains that separate Tihama from Negd 5 . When the 
Islamic movement began a number of them moved permanently to 

Now in the tenth century the Fatimites having become supreme 

1 Cp., too, el Tunisi. 

2 'Aylan 





1 [ 

Sulaym Hawazin 






' I 

(See Wustenfeld, F, and Caussin de Perceval, Table X A.) 
* See p. 187. 

4 Caussin de Perceval estimates that Hilal ibn 'Amir himself lived about 414 A. D. 
(Table X a). 

5 Ibn Khaldun, I, 25 ; Caussin de Perceval, 11, 410. Cp. Quatremere, 11, 212-215. 
The Sherarat of Arabia are said to be descended from them : see Doughty, Arabia 
Deserta, 1, 125. Doughty speaks of the B. Hilal as the "fabled ancient heroic Aarab 
of Nejd " : almost any antiquarian remains of unknown origin were locally attributed 
to them: seeAr. Des.loc.cit. andi, 387, and Wanderings..., 1, 36, 38, 138; 11, 211, 259. 

M.S.I. 10 


along the North African coast-line pushed their conquests eastwards 
over Egypt and Syria, and by 991 a.d. they had brought under their 
rule all the country lying between the eastern border of Morocco 
and the Syrian desert and the Orontes 1 . 

Almost immediately after the conquest of Syria the Khalifa el 
'Aziz Abu Mansur (975-996 a.d.) moved the Beni Sulaym and Beni 
Hilal to Upper Egypt and settled them there 2 . The chief divisions 
of the latter were the Athbeg, the Riah, the Zoghba, the Ma'akl, 
the Gishm and the Kurra 3 . 

About fifty years later, in 1045, when the power of the Fatimites 
was beginning to decline, Mu'izz the chief of the Sanhaga Berbers 
at Kairuan became disaffected, and the Khalifa el Mustansir Abu 
Tamim (1036-1094) eventually sent word, in 1049, to the Beni 
Hilal saying "I make you a gift of Maghrab and the kingdom of 
Mu'izz son of Balkin the Sanhagi, the runaway slave 4 ." 

Thus was ushered in the period of permanent Arab domination 
in that part of North Africa which lies west of Egypt 5 . The tribes of 
Beni Hilal, accompanied by other Beni Kays, chiefly Beni Sulaym 
and Fezara 6 , under their leadership 7 , swarmed "like locusts" to the 
north-west in 105 1, joined forces with their kinsfolk the Beni Kurra 
who with the aid of the Ketama Berbers had already established 
themselves about forty-six years before at Barka, and overran the 
provinces of Tunis and Tripoli 8 . Mu'izz enlisted the aid of the 
Zenata Berbers, but his resistance was weak, disaffection was rife, 
such of his troops as accepted battle were defeated, and the country 
passed under the denomination of the Beni Hilal. This great 
expedition and the desultory warfare with the Zenata that followed 
it gave rise to the famous cycle of legends in honour of the hero 
"Abu Zayd el Hilali" which was rife, at least until lately, all over 

1 Van Dyck, p. 150. 

2 Some of the Beni Sulaym appear also to have entered Egypt some seventy 
years earlier (109 A.H.) and to have been settled round Balbays, where subsequently 
they were joined by others of their tribe. These all, at a later date, moved with the 
main tribe to the Berber country in the west. (Quatremere, II, 212-215.) 

3 Ibn Khaldun, 1, 28 (ed. de Slane), and ed. ar. Vol. 6, p. 15, Bk. 11. 

4 Ibn Khaldun, ed. ar. Vol. 6, p. 14. 

6 Previous to this of course the Arabs had made numerous expeditions west- 
wards from Egypt and no doubt some permanent settlements had been made, 
but there had been no general arabicization. 

6 The bulk of the Fezara were still in Arabia at this time (see Ibn Khaldun, ed. 
de Slane, 1, 118 note). 

7 Several of the sub-tribes mentioned by Ibn Khaldun were, as he particularly 
points out, and as Wustenfeld's table shews, not Beni Hilal proper, though they 
were of kindred origin in nearly every case, e.g. Ghatafan (including Fezara) and 
other branches of Kays 'Aylan. (See Ibn Khaldun, ed. ar. Vol. 6, pp. 5, 16, 17.) 

8 Cp. Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 128. 

II. i. xiv. IN THE MIDDLE AGES 147 

Egypt 1 , and which in various more or less garbled forms is still 
frequently met with in the Sudan. 

The Beni Hilal thus transplanted to Tunis and Tripoli very 
soon took to intermarriage with the Libyo-Berber tribes who had 
previously occupied the country, and the process of alternate fighting 
and miscegenation continued persistently under the various dynasties 
that rose and fell in northern Africa during the ages that followed. 
The alleged Yemenite origin of the powerful Sanhaga and Ketama 
branches of Berber is probably authentic 2 , and if so largely explains 
the readiness with which Arab and Berber fused their stocks into the 
race known now as Moors 3 . 

Within a hundred years of their arrival in Libya the Sanhaga 
and most of the Beni Hilal were leagued together in revolt against 
the Almohades (El Muwahhidin). Numbers of them also pushed 
westwards to Spain 4 . 

From now until the time of Ibn Khaldun (1332-1405) and Leo 
(d. 1552) one loses sight of the Beni Hilal in the west; but in the 
south one hears of some of them among the troops sent by Kalaun 
in 1287 to invade Dongola 5 . Ibn Khaldun mentions them in Upper 
Egypt in his day 8 , and Makrizi speaks of them about 1400 a.d. as 
very numerous in the district of Aswan, in the eastern desert as far 
as 'Aidhab, and in fact all over the Sa'id 7 . 

It also appears that some of the Ga'afiria settled between Esna 
and Aswan may be Beni Hilal by origin 8 . 

There is evidence that some of the Beni Hilal also settled in the 
Sudan 9 : it would be a remarkable thing if they did not. 

As regards the Beni Sulaym, though most of them left Egypt 
for the west at the time of the great migration of 1051, by no 
means all of them did so. At the close of the thirteenth century they 
were very powerful in Bahira Province, and very many of them were 
also settled in the Fayum and Upper Egypt 10 . 

1 See Lane-Poole, Manners and Customs..., Ch. 21 ; Huart, p. 405, etc. 

2 See above, p. 8. 

3 Moghrabi, pi. Mogharba (or Moghrabfn). Doughty writes in 1888 : " Moorish 
Arabs are well accepted by the Arabians who repute them ' an old Hegaz folk and 
nephews of the Beni Hilal'" {Wanderings..., I, 36 ff.). 

4 Ibn Khaldun, 1, 25 and 118. The Zoghba section threw in their lot with the 
Almohades. {Ibid. 11, 90.) 

5 Quatremere, II, 101 ff. 

6 Ibn Khaldun, ed. de Slane, 1, 9-1 1. 7 Quatremere, 11, 201. 

8 Lane, Manners and Customs..., p. 405, mentions "Ga'afireh" as a sub-tribe 
of Beni Hilal. See also remarks under Gawama'a in Part III. 

9 See pp. 68, 69 and 79. 

10 At the same period the Howara in Libya were subject to the Beni Sulaym, 
and the two tribes pastured their herds together. (See Ibn Khaldun, I, 197, and 
cp. Makrizi, ap. Quatremere, II, 207, 212-215.) 

10 — 2 


Leo Africanus (c. 1495-1552) gives us details concerning the 
Beni Hilal in the north. "The Arabians which inhabit Africa 1 ," 
he says, "are diuided into three parts, one part whereof are called 
Cachin 2 , the second Hilell, and the third Machill 3 ." Of the 
"Hilell," or Beni Hilal, he tells us that they were a rich powerful 
tribe with 6000 horsemen dwelling "upon the frontiers of the king- 
dom of Tremizen and Oran 4 ." 

The Awlad Ukba section lived on the borders of Meliana in 
Algeria 5 and were in receipt of allowances from the ruler of Tunis: 
"they are a rude and wild people, and in very deade estranged from 
all humanitie: they have (as it is reported) about 1500 horsemen." 

XV RABI'A and Beni Kanz. One of the largest divisions of the 
Isma'ilitic stock in Arabia was that of Rabi'a, who included the 
great Bukr and Taghlib sections, known together as Wail, the 
'Abd el Kays and many others 6 . 

The early home of the Rabi'a was in the Hegaz, the Negd high- 
lands and Tihama, but towards the end of the fifth century a.d. 
violent internal dissensions broke out and in the sixth most of the 
tribe migrated, the Taghlib from Negd north-westwards to Meso- 
potamia and the 'Abd el Kays from Tihama eastwards with the 
Bukr to Bahrayn 7 . Early in the seventh century a great part of the 
Rabi'a accepted Christianity 8 . 

In 854 a.d. occurred an extensive migration of Rabi'a to Egypt 9 . 
They dispersed into the various cantons, but chiefly, it would appear, 
to the Aswan district and northern Nubia. Thence, in 869, in com- 
pany with many Kahtanite Guhayna and others the Rabi'a poured 

1 Meaning the country west of Egypt and the Nile. 

2 "Cachin," or "Schachin" (Leo, p. 150), are called "Esquequin" by Marmol 
(p. 76). They were of Isma'ilitic origin according to both authors. 

3 Leo, trans. Pory, pp. 142 and 150. Both Leo and Marmol Caravajal (c. 1520) 
derive their information as to the past history of the tribe of Beni Hilal from Ibn 
el Rakik (see Leo, ed. Brown, p. 211 note). By "Machill" are probably intended 
the Ma'akl (or Ma'akla) mentioned (see p. 146) by Ibn Khaldun as a branch of 
Beni Hilal and represented at the present among the Beli sub-tribes (see p. 137, 
note). Marmol (p. 76) calls them Mahequil. Both he and Leo attribute to them a 
Himyaritic origin. 

4 Leo, p. 144. 

5 "The kingdom of Hucban are next neighbours unto the region of Melian" 
(ibid. loc. cit.). 

6 Including the 'Anaza, the great tribe which lived at first in Tehama and now 
between the Euphrates and the Syrian mountains (Caussin de Perceval, 1, 191). 
There was also a section of I£ays called Rabi'a. 

7 C. de Perceval, loc. cit. The settlements of Bukr were known as Diar Bukr, 
the modern "Diarbekir." Cp. Wustenfeld, 1, 378, sub "Rabi'a ben Nizar," quoting 
Yakut and el Bekri. 8 Ibid. 1, 348; 11, 392~3- 

9 Quatremere, 11, 84-85, quoting Makrizi's treatise on the Arab tribes settled 
in Egypt. Cp. Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 29. 

II. i. xv. IN THE MIDDLE AGES 149 

into the Bega country to the east 1 . The lures to them were the 
emerald and gold mines: the spur was the oppression of the tax- 
gatherer on the Nile. In these early days the chief of the Rabi'a was 
Ishak ibn Beshr, but before long a split occurred and the Beni Yunis 
section who had taken up their abode at 'Aidhab embroiled them- 
selves with the Beni Beshr 2 section and were forced to retire to the 
Hegaz. Then the Beni Beshr quarrelled among themselves, Ishak 
was killed and his cousin Abu 'Abdulla Muhammad "Abu Zayd" 
succeeded him. "Abu Zayd" had lived at Balbays, but, on being 
chosen to lead the tribe, he took up his headquarters at Aswan. 

Meanwhile considerable cordiality had arisen between the Rabi'a 
and the Bega in the east and also between the other Rabi'a and the 
Nubians on the Nile. 

The Bega chieftains gave their daughters to the Rabi'a in marriage 
and helped them to eject from the islands of the Red Sea the other 
Arabs who had settled there earlier. As a result the Bega, who had 
been distinctly inferior in strength to the Nubians, became in alliance 
with the Rabi'a more than a match for both the riverain tribes and 
such Kahtanite Arabs as had succeeded in establishing themselves 
in the eastern deserts. By 943-4, Mas'udi relates 3 , Bashir ibn 
Marwan ibn Ishak (or "Abu Marwan Bishr") of the Beni Rabi'a 
had under his sheikhship 3000 tribesmen of Rabi'a and Mudr and 
the Yemen and 30,000 Bega warriors. These latter were all Hadareb, 
dwellers on the coast and converts to Islam. 

The Rabi'a who had remained round Aswan 4 and never moved 
eastwards similarly imposed their influence on the natives and founded 
a modified Arab aristocracy ruling by consent over a less virile, 
though still unsubjected, population of autochthons. About 1020, 
or rather earlier, their chief, Abu Mukarram, son and successor of 
Abu 'Abdulla Muhammad "Abu Zayd," was invested by the Fatimite 
Khalifa Hakim with the hereditary title of Kanz el Dowla as a reward 
for having defeated and taken prisoner (in 1006) the rebel Abu 
Rakwa 5 . By the end of the next century, and probably sooner, the 

1 See Makrizi, Khetdt, n, 569 and 575. The Rabf'a had been employed in 
Nubia on a punitive expedition (see p. 166). 

2 Possibly the name Bisharin is connected with the name of this section. 

3 See Mas'udi, in, 33. Bouriant (11, 570) hopelessly mistranslates the last 
part of Makrizi's quotation from Mas'udi. The Arabic is as follows: 

etc. (,>^*3'j j^ac ^j.>c l^s*}^^ 

4 See Mas'udi (ap. Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 572) ; Abu Salih, p. 276 ; Quatremere, n, 
84, etc. 

5 Quatremere, n, 85. Cp. Beckett, p. 196. 


holder of this title was also called "Amir of Aswan," chief, that is, 
of the Arabs in that vicinity 1 . 

After the granting of the title Kanz el Dowla these western 
Rabi'a and such alien elements as they had assimilated came to be 
known as Beni Kanz 2 . 

About 1171-1175 they were in rebellion against Saladin 3 . 

In 1287 we find them taking part in the Nubian expedition of 
Kalaun 4 . By this time they were virtually supreme from Kus to south 
of Aswan on both sides of the river, and, having allied themselves 
by marriage with the kings of Nubia, were in the position of being 
recognized on either side of the frontier of Egypt as forming an 
almost independent state 5 . Succeeding centuries failed to oust them 
from their position and they are represented at the present day by 
the Kenuz who live from Aswan to Korosko 6 . 

In the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries they were a 
perpetual thorn in the side of Egypt, being generally allied with the 
'Ikrima, the branch of Kays 'Aylan to which the Beni Hilal also 
belonged 7 , and employing themselves largely in raiding from 'Aidhab 
on the one side to the oases on the other. 

In 1366 they openly defied the government and actually pillaged 
the military post of Aswan. For this exploit they paid dearly, and in 
1378 the heads of eleven of their chiefs were sent to Cairo by the 
Amir of Aswan. Their repression was, however, carried out with 
too heavy a hand and in consequence they were reduced to despera- 
tion and revolted en masse in 1385 and captured Aswan itself. They 
then resumed their career of brigandage and terrorization, and for 

1 See following chapter. The term "Governor of Aswan" which is sometimes 
used is misleading. Kanz el Dowla's position is made clear by Ibn Khaldun's 
description of him as "amir of the Arabs in the neighbourhood of Aswan": 


(Ibn Khaldun, ed. ar. Vol. 5, p. 288, Bk. 11). His position was analogous to that of 
the 'Abdullah "Mangil" in Fung days. 

2 Ibn Khaldun (ed. ar. Vol. 6, p. 5) says: "The people living next to Aswan 
are known as the Awlad Kanz: their ancestor was Kanz el Dowla." Unless therp 
is any pre-Fatimite mention of Awlad Kanz, which, so far as I know there is not, 
though Mas'udi and Ibn Selim both wrote in the tenth century, it seems certain 
that the tribe did in fact only take the name of Awlad Kanz after the granting of the 
title of Kanz el Dowla {Treasure of the State). Mas'udi (q.v. in Khetdt, II, 572 ff.) 
could hardly have omitted to mention the name otherwise. 

3 See following chapter. 4 See following chapter. 

5 Ibn Khaldun, ed. de Slane, pp. 9-1 1 ; Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 29 and 308. 

6 See Beckett. The singular of Kenuz is Kanzi. Alternative derivations that 
have been suggested for the term Kanz are Kenes (the hieroglyphic name of an 
island of the first cataract) and Ta Kenz ("land of the bow"), the old Egyptian 
name for the country (Beckett, p. 196). 

7 Wustenfeld, F; Caussin de Perceval, Table X A. 

ill xv. IN THE MIDDLE AGES 151 

the rest of the fourteenth century continued in intermittent possession 
of Aswan, flouting the authority of the Sultan of Egypt. 

Though they lost Aswan in 1412 a.d. to the Howara Berbers 1 , 
who destroyed it and laid waste its confines, they remained the most 
powerful tribe on the Sudan-Egyptian border until the Turks under 
Selim I conquered the country in 1517 2 . 


On the penetration of the Sudan by Berber Tribes. 

We have seen that innumerable Arabs pushed westwards and coalesced 
with the Berber tribes, of whom the best known were the Sanhaga, the 
Ketama, the Luata, the Masmuda, the Howara, the Lamta, the Zenata, 
the Mughi'la, the Nafza and the Ghomara 3 . But it will also have been 
noted that, though the main body of the Berber race remained in occupation 
of the country lying between Egypt and the Atlantic, founding a series of 
powerful dynasties 4 , and sending offshoots southwards towards the Niger 5 , 
many of them continued to settle as their ancestors had done in Egyptian 
territory, or to raid it, as seemed most convenient 6 . It will be noted in 
particular that the so-called Fatimite conquest of Egypt in 969 a.d. was 
effected almost entirely by Berber, Ketama for the most part, and un- 
doubtedly marked the beginning of a period of increased Berber immi- 
gration 7 . 

1 Makrizi, Khetdt, II, 575, and Burckhardt, Nubia, p. 517. In 1394 the Howara 
had been in league with the Awlad Kanz in one of the latter's periodical attacks 
on Aswan and had joined them in pillaging it. 

2 For their distribution in the Sudan at the present day see Appendix to ABC in 
Part iv. 

3 See Ibn Khaldun, ed. ar. Vol. 6, pp. 93 ff., Bk. Ill; or Mas'udi, Vol. in, 
Ch. xlvi. 

4 The "Almohades" (El Muwahhidfn) were chiefly Masmuda and Lamtuna, 
the " Almoravides " (El Merabitin) Sanhaga. 

5 By el Bekri's day (1067 A.D.) Audaghost on the southern border of 
the Great Desert, on the boundary of Ghana, was peopled chiefly by Zenata 
(Cooley, pp. 1-29), and the "Almoravides" converted Ghana to Islam in 1076 
(Cooley, pp. 42-86). Barth agrees with Sultan Bello and Makrizi as to the close 
connection between the Berber and Bornu (Barth, 11, 269-272), and we have had 
occasion in dealing with the tribes of Darfur to note some Berber survivals in that 

6 After they had ruined and burnt fifty flourishing Christian monasteries near 
Giza, Abu Salih (c. 1208) speaks of them with feeling (ed. Evetts, p. 192) as a 
people "who do not know the truth or obey the law or distinguish between right 
and wrong." 

7 Makrizi, Khetdt, 1, 269. 


Having once settled in Egypt the Berber intermarried with the Arabs 
and native Egyptians to such an extent that their Berber origin was almost 
forgotten. The case of the Luata who named themselves Kays has been 
already cited, and that of the HowAra will follow. 

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries we hear of large numbers of 
nomad Mezata, Howara and Zenara (a section of Luata) between 
Alexandria and Old Cairo 1 , and many sections of Luata, the tribe which 
had been in occupation of Barka at the time of Amr's conquest 2 , are 
similarly mentioned by Makrizi 3 (1365-1441) in Giza, Bahnasa 4 , Manuf 
and Upper Egypt generally, and with them Mezata, Howara and others. 
The two sections last mentioned had also settled to the north in Bahira 
and Gharbia provinces and between Alexandria and Akaba 5 . About 1382 
a colony of Howara was transplanted to Girga province by Barkuk, the 
first of the Circassian dynasty, and by assiduous cultivation they reclaimed 
it from the desert 6 . These partly arabicized Howara, generally in company 
with the Zenata, were largely represented in the middle ages in Algeria, 
Tripoli and the Fezzan 7 , warring, intermarrying, making treaties and 
quarrelling with the Arabs, but more than any other tribe of Berber origin 
the Howara succeeded in establishing themselves firmly in the Nile valley. 
Their settlement in Girga by Barkuk marked the beginning of this process, 
and about the end of the century, as we have seen, they first, in company 
with the Awlad Kanz, attacked and pillaged Aswan, and then some years 
later seized it from the Awlad Kanz and put it to the sword. 

These Howara made Upper Egypt their final habitation. Pococke, 
visiting the Nile in 1737, speaks of Akhmim as under a Berber amir 8 ; and 
Norden, who travelled up the Nile in 1737-8, says 9 : 

A little above the town of Siuut begin the habitations of the Arabs, known under 
the name of Havarra. They possess likewise lands on the other side of the Nile. 
They call them natives of the kingdom of Maroc. They are the best kind of Arabs. 
They are governed by a shech; and they are all gentlemen, pretty much like the 

Burckhardt, early in the next century, found the Howara settled in villages 
from el Siut to Farshiut on the west bank and to near Kena on the east 10 . 
He regarded them as Arabs, and they had posed as such since the fourteenth 
century at the latest 11 . He relates in full 12 how in the eighteenth century 
they had controlled Upper Egypt and the northern Sudan as far south as 
Mahass and had compelled the Mamluks to cede these parts to them by 

1 Ibn Khaldun, ed. de Slane, 1, 9-1 1 ; ed. ar. Vol. 6, p. 5. Quatremere wrongly 
reads "Mezana" throughout for "Mezata." 

2 Butler, p. 430. They submitted to 'Amr in 642 a.d. In el Mas'udi's day they 
occupied the oasis of Kharga (see Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 697). 

3 Quatremere, 11, 201 and 207-208. 

4 In Bahnasa the bulk of the population were Luata. 

5 Quatremere, loc. cit. 6 Ibid. 11, 209. 

7 Their strain is also believed to survive very strongly in the Shawia Arabs of 
West Africa. See Carette, pp. 126 ff. 

8 Quatremere, 11, 200. 

9 Travels in Egypt and Nubia, 11, 24. 10 Nubia, App. 1. 

11 Ibn Khaldun (ed. de Slane), 1, 273. 

12 For further details see Part III, Chap. 8. 


treaty. In spite of subsequent reverses at the hands of the Mamluks their 
power was not broken finally till 1813, when Ibrahim Pasha inflicted upon 
them a crushing defeat 1 . 

These Howara are represented in the Sudan by two quite distinct 
groups, namely, the nomad Hawawir of Dongola and the Howara, or 
Gellaba Howara, who have colonies in Kordofan and Darfur 2 . 

Of the other Berber tribes there are fewer representatives in the Sudan, 
but we shall see that on the Blue Nile there is a tribe of "Mogharba" 
who are of distinct Berber- Arab ancestry 3 , and that in northern Darfur 
and farther west the ancient Berber strain is strongly marked. If Ibn 
Khaldun 4 is to be believed, as Barth thinks he is, it was the branch of 
Howara who returned westwards that gave their name in the perverted 
form of Hogar to the all-powerful Tuwarek tribe generally known as 
Azkar, the owners of all the country round Ghat. 

1 Burckhardt, App. in, 531-533; cp. Hamilton, p. 257. 

2 For these see Chapter 8 in Part III. 

3 Note, too, the "Zenara" who occur among the Bedayria and the Hawazma 
(q.v. Part III), and the occurrence of such names as Gebel el Zenati and Khor 
Nakhnukha (a Berber name) in central Kordofan, north of Bara, in the Khayran. 

4 Ed. de Slane, Vol. 1, 275, ap. Barth, Vol. 1, Ch. x, p. 228. 

[ J 54] 


To illustrate Part II, Chapter 1, three genealogical trees are given 1 . They 
also serve to some extent to illustrate Part IV. The first shews the Kahtanite 

• • • 

tribes, the second the Isma'ilitic tribes (and their connection with the 
descendants of Kahtan), and the third the 'Abbasid and Omayyad families 
and that of the Prophet. 

The following points require to be noted with regard to these trees : 

1. They are (with the exception of the inset to Tree 1) entirely com- 
piled from Wiistenfeld's Register zu den genealogischen Tabellen.... Other 
authorities of course give many of the details differently. 

2. Tree 1 is compiled from Tables I-XXIII in Wiistenfeld. Trees 
2 and 3 are compiled from Tables A-Z in Wiistenfeld. 

(Throughout Wiistenfeld's work figures refer to Kahtanite tribes and 
letters to Isma'ilitic tribes.) 

3. I have altered Wiistenfeld's German orthography to that used 
throughout this book. 

4. A vast number of names given by Wiistenfeld, which are either 
quite unimportant in themselves or which are irrelevant to my subject, 
have been omitted. My object has been to provide reasonably compact 
skeleton trees for ready reference, as Wiistenfeld's work, though frequently 
quoted in this book, is not easily accessible. 

At the same time many apparently unimportant names are inserted 
(still on Wiistenfeld's authority) since they bear suggestive resemblances 
to proper names found among the Arab tribes of the Sudan — whether 
there is actually any connection or not. 

5. The dates given are generally only approximate and, unless the 
contrary is stated, refer to the year in which the man named was born. 
These dates (excepting the later historical ones) are adopted from Caussin 
de Perceval's Essai sur Vhistoire des Arabes..., Vol. I. 

6. The names of the eponymous ancestors of the most famous tribes 
are shewn in capitals. Names of tribes are shewn in italics. 

1 See end of Part, after p. 190. 



The General Progress of the Arabs through Egypt 
and their Invasions of Dongola 

I We have now taken certain of the more notable of the Arab tribes 
and followed the early fortunes of each in turn, beginning, where 
possible, from the time of their immigration to Africa and breaking 
off, as a rule, with the temporary disappearance of some of their 
branches into Libya or the Sudan, and the merging of others into 
the permanent population of Egypt. 

Before turning to the more recent history of the Arab tribes now 
represented in the Sudan and endeavouring to trace precisely the 
links that connect each with the more famous immigrants of the 
earlier age let us briefly record the general progress of the latter in 
Africa considered as a racial whole. This historical summary will 
also afford an opportunity for the passing mention of such con- 
temporary events in Nubia as have not been completely lost in 

II Amr ibn el 'Asi 1 invaded Egypt in December 639 a.d. with no 
more than 3500 to 4000 men, chiefly cavalry; but he was reinforced 
almost at once by 4000 others, and in June, 640, Zubayr ibn el 
Awwam also arrived with an army of some 12,000 men 2 . Alexandria 
fell in November, 641, and the conquest was complete 3 . 

Such losses as were suffered during these few years were con- 
tinually being made good by fresh contingents of Beduins 4 . All 
these troops were probably drawn more or less indiscriminately from 
the various tribes of Arabia, for they are generally spoken of by the 
historians by such general terms as "the Muslims" and are grouped 

1 'Amr was a Kurayshite on his father's side: his mother was an 'Anazia (see 
Butler, p. 202). For the exact date of the invasion, see Butler, p. xxvii et seq. For 
the general course of events, see Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 1-3. 

2 See Butler, pp. 225 and 226. Lane-Poole thinks Zubayr's contingent only 
brought up the total to 12,000. Butler speaks of Zubayr as bringing 4000 men and 
being followed very shortly by two other contingents of 4000 each. Ibn el Hakam 
says 4000, el Balddhuri 10,000 or 12,000, and Yakut and el Siuti 12,000: Makrizi 
quotes from el Kindi a statement of Yezi'd that 'Amr's force was 15,500, i.e. an 
original 3500 plus 12,000 reinforcements: Abu Salih (p. 74), on the authority of 
The Book of el Gandh, says 'Amr came to Fostat with 3005 [3500?] men, and was 
afterwards joined by Zubayr with 12,000. 

3 Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 13 ; Butler, p. xxviii. 

4 Butler, pp. 213 and 427. 


merely according to their various leaders and not tribe by tribe. 
There is no doubt, however, that the leaders would naturally be 
followed by more of their own respective tribes than others, for 
instance, 'Amr and Zubayr by Kuraysh, and we also know that 
when 'Amr laid out a town he apportioned separate streets and 
quarters to separate tribes 1 . A very remarkable lack of information 
exists as to the names of the tribes that conquered Egypt, though 
there is an enormous mass of literature dealing with this era, and the 
explanation lies partly in the heterogeneous nature of the force 2 . 

Two tribes which were certainly represented to a large degree 
were those of Lakhm and Gudham. 

Considerable toleration was at first displayed towards the Copts, 
to whom 'Amr guaranteed, in return for their paying the taxation 
imposed, "their religion, their goods, their churches and crosses, 
their lands and waters"; and no doubt it was partly in consequence 
of this policy, and not merely on account of the weakness of the 
Roman garrisons, that Egypt was so rapidly subdued 3 . 

Before the end of 641 the whole country from the Red Sea to 
Barka and from the Mediterranean to Aswan had become a province 
of the Muslim Khalifate 4 . 

Ill In this same year 5 or the next 20,000 men were sent under the 
command of 'Abdulla ibn Sa'ad ibn Abu Sarh 6 to invade Christian 
Nubia. This constitutes the first Muhammadan invasion into the 
Sudan 7 . Details of it are lacking, but the result was apparently not 

1 See Yakut, ap. Butler, p. 339, and the remarks concerning the foundation of 
Fostat on p. 137 above. 

2 Butler states (p. 198): "Most of 'Amr's following belonged to the tribe of 
'Akk, although Al Kindi says that one-third were of the tribe of Ghafik." This 
does not help us much. In the first place, though this is not certain, there were, 
it seems, two quite separate 'Akks. One was a son of 'Adnan (^JJ^), and as such 
would be an ancestor of half the whole Ismd'ilitic stock; the other was son of 
'Odthan (^)Uj^fi, and hence the confusion), i.e. a Kahtanite. In the second place, 
Ghafik was grandson of 'Akk the son of 'Adnan, i.e. the Beni Ghafik were a section 
of Beni 'Akk. (See Wustenfeld, 1, 55 ; 11, Table A, and Kay, p. 3.) 'Amr himself 
apparently thought little of them, as he summed up their achievements in the words 
"The Ghafik [Bouriant reads ' 'Afeq'] are smitten and smite not" (Makrfzi, Khetdt, 
II, 469). The sort of confusion mentioned is very rife and prevents our making 
full use of even the scanty mentions of definite tribes which are extant. To make 
things worse we know that the Arabs very commonly took advantage of coincidences 
of nomenclature among their ancestors to claim identity with tribes with whom 
they had no real connection at all (so el Hamdani, q.v. in Kay, p. 214). 

3 Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 5, 6, quoting el Tabari (1, 2588). 

4 Lane-Poole, p. 14. 

5 Lane-Poole, p. 15; Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 581. 

6 A Kurayshite; see Wustenfeld, O. 

7 The Arabs are said, however, to have come into contact with the Nubians and 
Bega already at Bahnasa (Oxyrhinchus) — (see Budge, 11, 184, and Burckhardt, 
p. 528) — but the story is of doubtful worth. 


altogether unsuccessful, for the Nubians paid the tribute (bakt) of 
slaves imposed upon them for some years 1 . 

IV Meanwhile in Egypt 'Amr was busying himself with problems 
of administration, his general policy being to accept the pre-existing 
Roman system as a whole and slightly modify it to suit the change 
of circumstances 2 . Among the cardinal tenets of Muhammadan 
policy in these early days was the prohibiting of the acquisition of 
land by the Arabs. This is an important point, and must have largely 
affected the emigration question. "The idea was that they should 
remain soldiers, and not engage in agriculture as settlers 3 ." 

Later, however, this restriction became practically inoperative. 
The Khalifa 'Omar, who being no financier regarded Egypt exactly 
as Muhammad 'Ali Pasha at a subsequent epoch regarded the Sudan, 
soon became dissatisfied with the revenue which was sent him from 
Egypt and, thinking to augment it, first divided the province into two 
halves, giving 'Amr control of the Delta and 'Abdulla ibn Sa'ad of 
the long riverain stretch running thence to the first cataract 4 , and 
later appointed 'Abdulla ruler of the whole and recalled 'Amr. 

V In 651-2 'Abdulla ibn Sa'ad, as governor of the whole country, 
made his second expedition against Nubia, in consequence of the 
frequent raids made into Egypt. The account of this which is extant 
we owe to the description of Nubia written between 975 and 996 a.d. 5 
by 'Abdulla ibn Ahmad ibn Seh'm (or Sulaym) el Aswani and partly 
preserved in extracts by el Makrfzi 6 . 

'Abdulla pushed as far south as Dongola, the capital of the king- 
dom 7 , and bombarded the town with catapults and destroyed the 
church. The Nubians then sued for peace, and the terms granted 
them are sufficiently interesting to be given in full 8 : 

In the name of God, etc. ...This is a treaty granted by the amir 'Abdulla 
ibn Sa'ad ibn Abu Sarh to the chief of the Nubians and to all the people 
of his dominions, a treaty binding on great and small among them, from 
the frontier of Aswan to the frontier of 'Aiwa. 'Abdulla ibn Sa'ad ordains 
security and peace between them and the Muslims, their neighbours in 
the Sa'id, as well as all other Muslims and their tributaries. Ye people of 
Nubia, ye shall dwell in safety under the safeguard of God and his apostle, 

1 Lane-Poole (Hist. p. 23). Butler, following Ibn el Athir, thinks that the 
expedition was a failure. 

2 Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 18. 3 Butler, p. 461. 

4 Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 20. 

5 975~99° are the dates of Al 'Aziz bi'llahi the Fatimite Khalifa for whom 
el Aswani wrote his work (see Quatremere, II, 3). 

6 See Makrizi (Khetdt), 1, vi ; 11, 549, 580 et seq. Cp. Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 21-23. 

7 The king's name is translated as Kaliduruth by Bouriant and as " Koleydozo" 
by Burckhardt. 

8 As translated by Lane-Poole (Hist. p. 21 et seq.). 


Muhammad the prophet, whom God bless and save. We will not attack 
you, nor wage war on you, nor make incursions against you, so long as ye 
abide by the terms settled between us and you. When ye enter our country, 
it shall be but as travellers, not as settlers, and when we enter your country 
it shall be but as travellers not settlers. Ye shall protect those Muslims or 
their allies who come into your land and travel there, until they quit it. 
Ye shall give us the slaves of Muslims who seek refuge among you, and 
send them back to the country of Islam ; and likewise the Muslim fugitive 
who is at war with the Muslims, him ye shall expel from your country to 
the realm of Islam ; ye shall not espouse his cause nor prevent his capture. 
Ye shall put no obstacle in the way of a Muslim, but render him aid till 
he quit your territory. Ye shall take care of the mosque which the Muslims 
have built in the outskirts of your city, and hinder none from praying there ; 
ye shall clean it, and light it, and honour it. Every year ye shall pay 360 1 
head of slaves to the leader of the Muslims [i.e. the Khalifa], of the middle 
class of slaves of your country, without bodily defects, males and females, 
but no old men nor old women nor young children. Ye shall deliver them 
to the Governor of Aswan. No Muslim shall be bound to repulse an enemy 
from you or to attack him, or hinder him, from 'Aiwa to Aswan. If ye 
harbour a Muslim slave, or kill a Muslim or an ally, or attempt to destroy 
the mosque which the Muslims have built in the outskirt of your city, or 
withhold any of the 360 head of slaves, then this promised peace and 
security will be withdrawn from you, and we shall revert to hostility, until 
God decide between us, and He is the best of umpires. For our perform- 
ance of these conditions we pledge our word, in the name of God, and our 
compact and faith, and belief in the name of His apostle, Muhammad, 
God bless and save him. And for your performance of the same ye pledge 
yourselves by all that ye hold most sacred in your religion, by the Messiah 
and by the apostles and by all whom ye revere in your creed and religion. 
And God is witness of these things between us and you. Written by 'Amr 
ibn Shurahbil in Ramadan in the year 31." [May-June, 652 a.d.] 

VI This treaty continued in force for over 600 years. The tribute 
was paid over yearly to the officer in charge of the frontier post of 
el Kasr, five miles south of Aswan. At the same time a present of 
forty slaves was handed over by the Nubians and a large gift of wheat, 
barley, lentils, cloth and horses by the Arabs. The gift of one party 
was in theory no doubt the equivalent of that of the other, but unless 
the only detailed list of amounts that survives is entirely inaccurate 
— which is of course possible — the Arabs would probably in practice 
have had more difficulty in getting their tribute of 360 slaves had not 
their gift to the Nubians exceeded in value that of the Nubians to 
them by something very like the amount of the tribute 2 . 

1 Mas'udi (in, 39), "365." 

2 Cp. Butler, p. 432, and note in this connection the terms in which Makrizi 
alludes to the "bakt" apropos of its renewal in the year 1276 (see later). The origin 
of the custom of exchange was as follows : When the Nubians paid their tribute 


As regards the clause in the treaty prohibiting Arab settlement 
in Nubia, no doubt it was merely intended as a concessionary make- 
weight against the corresponding prohibition of Nubian settlement 
in Egypt, and it evidently fell into desuetude at an early date. 
Although the treaty as a whole seems to have remained in force for 
so long, the payment of the requisite tribute must have been re- 
garded as the only really important clause, and even this was judici- 
ously rendered more palatable to the Nubians by the subsequent 
exchange of gifts so advantageous to themselves. 

VII *In 656 the Khalifa 'Othman was murdered and the civil war 
which followed did not leave Egypt unaffected. There had already 
been a rising against the oppressive rule of 'Abdulla ibn Sa'ad, and 
of two successive governors sent out by the Imam 'Ali one had to be 
removed and the other was poisoned. At Kharibta in the Hauf were 
10,000 men determined to avenge 'Othman, and when 'Amr ibn el 
'Asi reappeared in 658 with a considerable body of troops as the 
nominee of Mu'awia, the rival of 'Ali, he had no difficulty in establish- 
ing himself for a second period as Governor of Egypt. Two expe- 
ditions were sent between 658 and 664 against the Berbers of Libya, 
but otherwise no outstanding event occurred. 

VIII 'Amr died in 664, and between that date and the rise of the 
Tulunid dynasty in 868 ninety-eight Arab governors 2 ruled Egypt, 
and the Arab population increased steadily. 

The chief occasions of the immigration were the arrivals of new 
governors: each one came escorted by an army of anything up to 
20,000 men, many of whom never returned to Syria or Arabia 3 . A 
proportion of these hordes were Persian, Turkish and other tribes, 
but the majority were Arabs and would normally be members of the 
governor's own tribe. It is interesting, therefore, to analyse the tribal 
names of the eighty-three different governors who followed 'Amr. 
We find that in the Ommayyad period, i.e. up to 750 A.D., seven out 

to 'Amr after the expedition of 641-2 they offered him a personal gift of 40 slaves: 
he refused to accept them and handed them back to the envoy, who sold them and 
bought provisions and wine for the Nubians. This became a regular institution; 
but after the expedition of 651-2 the governor of Egypt kept the 40 slaves. Accord- 
ing to the authority cited by Makrfzi, viz. a certain Abu Khalifa Hamid ibn Hisham 
el Bohtari (Burckhardt calls him " Aly Kheleyfa Homayd Ibn Hesham el Baheyry," 
p. 512), who again gave as his authority the work of one Abu Zacharfa (see Makrfzi, 
Khetdt, II, 582), the actual amounts delivered to the Nubians were 1000 ardebs of 
wheat, 1000 of barley, and 1000 jars of wine for the king, and for every 1000 an 
extra 300 for the envoys: also 2 fine horses, 100 pieces of different kinds of cloth, 
40 pieces of finer cloth, and a robe, for the king. 

1 Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 24. 

2 Several of these had two or three terms of office. There were only 83 different 
governors. See the list given by Lane-Poole (Hist. pp. 45-57). 

3 Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 29. 


of a total of twenty-two were from Kuraysh 1 , the same number from 
Kays 'Aylan 2 , one from Guhayna, two from Azd 3 , three from 
Himyar 4 , one from Lakhm, and one whose tribe is unrecorded 5 . 

Of the sixty-one different governors of Egypt who served an 
'Abbasid Khalifa between 750 and 856 the tribe to which at least 
thirty-three belonged is known. Of these thirty-three as many as 
fifteen were themselves members of the Beni 'Abbas, three were 
Beni Tami'm 6 , five from Azd 7 , two from Tai, one from Lakhm, two 
from Mudhhig, two from Bagi'la 8 , two from Himyar 9 , and one 
apparently an Armenian. 

IX It would of course be those of the tribesmen who settled in the 
large towns or took to cultivation of the river banks who chiefly 
intermarried with the older Coptic population and remained in Egypt : 
the more nomadic tribes would naturally be more exclusive, and 
incidentally less eligible, in the matter of intermarriage, and such of 
them as penetrated in later years into the Sudan were probably still 
as purely Arab as when they entered Africa. 

Half a century after the death of 'Amr (722) occurred the first of 
a long series of Coptic revolts. Few of these people had been con- 
verted to Islam and by now there were some 5,000,000 of them living 
in Egypt 10 . 

As a set off to their power, the tribe of Kays 'Aylan was induced 
to immigrate to Egypt and settle round Balbays, and we have seen 
that by about 750 a.d. there were some 3000 of them in that locality 
and that, so far from strengthening the hand of the ruler of Egypt, 
they formed a hot-bed of revolt. 

X Of the state of the countries south of Aswan at this period we have 
little news. Such as there is comes to us from Christian sources 
and consists of the following. About 737 a.d. 11 the governor of Egypt 

1 Mostly Beni Ommayya, related to the reigning Khalifa. 

2 Fahm, 'Abs, Fezara and Bahila sections : all these in the first half of the eighth 

3 Including one of the Khazrag. 

4 One Asbahi, one Kelbi, and one Hadrami. The Beni Kelb are a section of 
the Kuda'a branch. 

5 El Hurr ibn Yusef (724-727). 6 A section of Mudr. 

7 Two belonged to the Khuza'a division and two to the Muhallab. 

8 The Beni Tamim, Azd, Tai, Lakhm, Mudhhig and Bagila were all related to 
one another, being descendants of Kahlan (see Wustenfeld, p. 4). 

9 "El Ruayni" and "El Kelbi." 10 Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 27, 28. 

11 See Abu Salih, pp. 267-268: cp. also Lane-Poole, p. 27. Abu Salih places 
the incident "in the Khalifate of Marwan el Ga'adi, the last of the Ommayyad 
Khalifas" {i.e. between 744 and 750), but he is unreliable. The whole story is 
probably largely exaggerated. Abu Salih's account " is borrowed from the biography 
of the patriarch Khail in the compilation of Severus of El Ashmunayn; see Anc. 
Fonds Arabe, 139, p. 162 f." (Evetts). 


extorted money so blatantly from the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria, 
Anba Kha'il, that the latter went up-country to ask for assistance. 
The king of Abyssinia 1 , Cyriacus, was so indignant at the humiliation 
thus inflicted on his spiritual chief that he marched on Egypt with 

100,000 horsemen and 100,000 camels.... When the Nubians [i.e. 
Abyssinians] entered Egypt, they plundered and slew, and took many 
prisoners, and laid waste many inhabited places in Upper Egypt as they 
marched towards Misr. Now when the ruler of Egypt heard what was the 
cause of their coming, and was told as follows: "when the patriarch of 
Egypt went up to ask assistance of the Christians in Upper Egypt, news 
of this reached the king of Nubia and the king of Abyssinia and [another] 
king subject to the jurisdiction of the patriarch of Egypt, and [the first 
named] was indignant at the news " ; then [the Governor of Egypt] released 
the patriarch from his obligations and ceased to extort money from him, 
and begged him to write to the king of Nubia and bid him return [to his 
own country] . So the patriarch wrote to the king as he was requested and 
the king returned, and no longer acted as he had done, but departed to 
his own country. 

XI In 750 a.d. the 'Abbasid dynasty supplanted that of the Om- 
mayyads, and Marwan, the last ruler of the defeated party, met his 
death a fugitive in Egypt. The first 'Abbasid Khalifa was 'Abdulla 

1 Abu Salih calls Cyriacus "King of Nubia," but he is vague on this point. 
Later (p. 272), speaking apparently of contemporary affairs (c. 1208 a.d.), he says: 
"The number of kings in Nubia is thirteen and all these rule the land under the 
supremacy of Cyriacus, the Great King; and all of them are priests and celebrate 
the liturgy within the sanctuary, as long as they reign without killing a man with 
their own hands ; but if a king kills a man, he may no longer celebrate the liturgy 
...etc." But if we continue we find in the account of Abyssinia (p. 286): "All the 
kings of Abyssinia are priests, and celebrate the liturgy within the sanctuary, as 
long as they reign without slaying any man with their own hand ; but after slaying 
a man they can no longer celebrate the liturgy; and the conditions by which they 
are bound after they have killed a man have already been spoken of in this book." 
It seems that, as Evetts says, "this proves the confusion in the mind of our author 
of Nubia with Abyssinia." Abu Salih, also under the heading of "Abyssinia" 
(which , as we have seen earlier, he includes in the term "India " : see p . 49 , above) says : 
"The King of El Mukurra, who is an Abyssinian and is an orthodox king, is the 
great king among the kings of his country, because he has an extensive kingdom, 
including distant regions in the north of the country, and has many troops ; and he is 
the fourth of the kings of the earth, and no king on earth is strong enough to resist 
him; and at a certain place in his country he possesses the Ark of Noah" (p. 286, 
and cp. p. 296). Here, too, he seems to have involved himself in the same confusion, 
for the description given would apply to Abyssinia but never to Nubia or the district 
of Mukurra. Thus there can be little doubt, I think, that it was the Abyssinians 
who were chiefly responsible for the attack on Egypt about 737. A minor point 
supporting the theory is Abu Salih's remark apropos of the 100,000 horsemen. 
"Now Nubian horses are small, like the largest of the Egyptian asses, but have 
a great power of enduring fatigue" (p. 268). No one who has been in the Sudan 
for long can fail to recognize in this description the "habashi" (i.e. Abyssinian) 
pony, and it is not indigenous to any other part of Africa but Abyssinia. At the 
same time it is clear from the sentences which follow in the text that the Nubians 
assisted the Abyssinians, and the mention of camelmen at once suggests the Bega 

M.S.I. II 


Abu el 'Abbas el Saffah, "The Shedder of Blood." His policy was 
one of ruthless repression and the extermination by wholesale 
massacre of all possible rivals among the Ommayyads and the parti- 
zans of the Imam 'Ali. 

Such of the Beni Ommayya as escaped from the slaughter fled 
to the more distant parts of the Islamic world. Some found a home 
in Spain 1 , some in Egypt, and some within the borders of India. 

Other parties are said to have fled direct to the Sudan, and it is 
from one of these that the Sudanese traditions derive the Arab element 
among the Fung dynasty who at the beginning of the sixteenth cen- 
tury founded the kingdom of Sennar in the Gezira 2 . Stripped of 
obvious inaccuracies and inconsistencies the tradition relates that one 
Sulayman ibn 'Abd el Malik ibn Marwan fled before el Saffah to 
Abyssinia and thence to the Sudan, where he married the daughter 
of a local king. The congeries of tribes known at present as the 
Ga'aliyyun ("Ga'alii'n") are said in contradistinction to be of 
'Abbasid origin. Again el Mas'udi 3 speaks of 'Abdulla, the son of 
Marwan the last of the Ommayyads, as taking temporary refuge in 
the Sudan and leaving it by way of Bada' {i.e. " Airi," or el Rih 4 ) after 
losing his brother 'Obaydulla and many followers. Ibn Selim, as 
quoted by el Makrizi 5 , also refers to this event and there is no 
reason to doubt that it constitutes a historical fact 6 . 

XII 7 In Egypt and the neighbouring countries, meanwhile, a period 
of widespread revolt naturally followed the change of dynasties and 
the numerous religious controversies that had arisen. 

The Khawarig sect of puritans caused serious trouble and blood- 
shed in Egypt in 754, and in Barka, in 759, in common with 
recalcitrant Ommayyads and Berbers, and in Abyssinia in 765. The 
Copts rose periodically during the same period, and the Beni Kays 
round Balbays took the chance offered by the general confusion of 
affairs to brigandize freely along the trade routes. 

1 E.g. 'Abd el Rahman ibn Mu'awia in 756 a.d. founded there an Ommayyad 

2 See BA ccxin, A 2 xxx, A 11 vn and liii, D 2 i, etc. in Part IV. 

3 " Kitab el Tanbih," in Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicorum, Part VIII, 
p. 330. The sons of Marwan entered the Sudan via Aswan with their families, 
dependents and Arab adherents and some Beni Ommayya from Khorasan. 

4 So identified by Crowfoot: Red Sea Ports..., pp. 542 ff. Bada' — Airi lies 
near Akik, just north of the eighteenth parallel. The variant Basa' ("Base") in 
Makrizi {Khetdt, II, 553) is clearly a misprint for Bada'. 

6 Khetdt, 11, 553. Cp. Quatremere, II, 16. 

6 Tombs have actually been found on the old site of Bada' by Crowfoot which 
are dated about the end of the tenth century and prove that members of the Beni 
Ommayya settled there. See Crowfoot, Some Lacunae..., p. 3. 

7 Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 31-34. 


In 782 an Ommayyad usurper in the Sa'id proclaimed himself 
Khalifa of Islam and met with repeated successes before he was 
caught and executed. His head was sent to the true Khalifa at 

XIII Two years later began the most serious period of Kaysite 
rebellions. The beginning of the ninth century witnessed the most 
serious of these and was also a period of very acrimonious theological 
disputation. Apart from the main schism between the supporters of 
the different claimants to the Khalifate, Sunni and Shi'a, divergent 
schools of theology and law had arisen. At Baghdad the Hanifite 
doctrines were prevalent, but those of the Imam Malik ibn Anas held 
the field in Egypt and westwards during the latter part of the eighth 
and in the ninth centuries, and were especially patronized by the 
rival Ommayyad dynasty established in Spain. But at the beginning 
of the ninth century the Imam el Shafa'i came to Fostat and his 
teaching thenceforth began gradually to acquire the predominance 
which is assured to it in Egypt at the present day — a predominance 
which, it may be noted, has never extended to the Sudan nor seriously 
rivalled the hold which the doctrines of Malik obtain in that country 
and along the north coast of Africa outside Egypt 1 . 

XIV As regards the more secular disturbances, a culminating point 
was reached about 831 a.d. 2 , when practically all the Copts through- 
out Lower Egypt followed the lead of the Beni Kays and Beni 
Lakhm and other rebellious Arabs and broke into an insurrection 
which lasted for nearly a year and compelled the Khalifa to visit 
Egypt in person. He made a speedy end of the revolt and so crushed 
the Copts that henceforth they ceased to be of any great moment. 
Lane-Poole says 3 : 

From this date [832 a.d.] begins the numerical preponderance of the 
Muslims over the Christians in Egypt, and the settlement of the Arabs in 
the villages and on the land instead of, as heretofore, only in the great 
cities. Egypt now became, for the first time, an essentially Muhammadan 

XV The Bega meanwhile 4 had been giving trouble by their con- 
tinual depredations, and the Khalifa had sent 'Abdulla ibn el Gahm 
against them. A treaty was finally concluded in 831 a.d., the year of 
the final Coptic revolt, at Aswan, between 'Abdulla and the Bega 
chief Kaniin ibn 'Abd el 'Aziz 5 . The chief provision of the treaty 
was that the portion of the Bega country that lay between Aswan on 

1 See Lane-Poole, loc. cit. p. 31, and Sir R. K. Wilson, Digest..., p. 19. 

2 Makrizi, Khetdt, 1, 232; Lane-Poole, loc. cit. p. 37. 3 Loc. cit. p. 38. 
4 Makrizi, loc. cit. II, 565-566, and cp. Budge, 11, 187-188. 

s From his name evidently he was a convert to Islam. 

11 — 2 


the west and Dahlak and Bada' on the east should pay to the Khalifa 
a yearly tribute of a hundred camels or 300 dinars. The continuance 
of Kanun's rule under the Khalifa's overlordship was dependent on 
this payment. Other clauses of the treaty provided in the interests 
of Muhammadan subjects for due respect being paid to their religion, 
the protection of their persons and property, freedom of trade and 
travel in the Bega country, assistance in the recovery of escaped 
slaves or strayed animals, and an engagement to give no assistance 
to any enemy of Islam. The Bega were only allowed to visit Upper 
Egypt unarmed and on condition of their not entering any town or 
village 1 . They also engaged not to damage the mosques erected at 
Siha 2 and Hagar or elsewhere throughout the Bega country, and 
agreed that Kaniin himself, who was to receive a free pardon for 
past offences, should reside in Egyptian territory as a hostage for the 
performance of all these provisions and the representative of his 

In return for a strict compliance with these terms the Bega were 
placed under the protection of God, the Khalifa, and all Muhammadan 

XVI No sooner had the affairs of the Bega been thus settled than 
it became necessary to take measures against the people of Nubia, 
who had refused to pay their tribute. According to Ibn Selim 3 the 
Arabs in return adopted the policy of inciting against them the neigh- 
bouring tribes — the Bega no doubt — and of cutting off their food 
supplies. Zakarfa ibn Bahnas, who was king of Nubia at the time, 
before deciding on his course of action, sent his son George 4 to appeal 
at Baghdad. George was very well treated and succeeded in obtain- 

1 I.e. the Bega were prohibited from Egyptian territory altogether unless they 
were merely passing through it or trading with the nomad Arabs. The region 
between el Kasr (the northern limit of Nubia on the river, five miles from Aswan, 
see Makrizi, loc. cit. II, 549) and el Kubban (on the east bank, three days south of 
Aswan, opposite Dakka, see Burckhardt, p. 508) was barred altogether. In this 
connection see later, p. 182. 

2 Burckhardt (p. 508), "Dhyher." 

3 Quoted by el Makrizi, Khetdt, H, 584-585. According to Abu Salih (q.v. 
pp. 268-270) the arrears of fourteen years were demanded. The fourteen years 
would date from about 833 a.d., for while Abu Salih speaks of Ibrahim, the brother 
of the Khalifa Mamun, as demanding these arrears, Ibn Selim dates the trouble 
in the reign of el Mu'tasim : the latter succeeded Mamun in 833. From Ibn Selim 's 
account one would certainly not suppose the tribute had been overdue for more 
than perhaps a year. Abu Salih gives his account "according to the history of the 
church and the biography of Anba Joseph, the 52 d patriarch." He takes it from the 
biography of Yusab (i.e. Joseph) in the compilation of Severus of el Ashmunayn 
(Paris MS., Anc. Fonds Arabe, 139, pp. 250 f.). Joseph occupied the see from 831 
to 850 (?). (See Renaudot, Hist. Patr. pp. 277-294.) 

4 Makrizi, ed. Bouriant, "Firqi"; Budge (11, 188), "Feraki"; Burckhardt^ 
" Feyrakey." Abu Salih gives " George." 


ing a large order upon the treasury of Egypt payable as soon as the 
tribute was handed over. Arrangements were also made for the 
tribute in future to be paid every three years, but the amount of the 
gifts usually presented by the Muhammadans to the Nubians on the 
occasion was cut down, and various demands made by Zakaria were 

With this George had to be content — as well he might be — and 
the tribute was duly paid. 

His father, it is said, founded a church in honour of his safe 
return 1 . 

XVII Still more serious trouble broke out in 854 during the rule of 
'Anbasa, the last and best of the Arab governors of Egypt, for the 
Bega refused to pay tribute and raided the riverain towns of Edfu 
and Esna. A large army of Arabs was eventually mobilized on the 
Nile and marched inland from Kus, while a smaller force was sent 
with supplies by way of the Red Sea. In the result the Bega were 
completely routed and their chief, 'Ali Baba, surrendered to the 
Arab general. He was well treated and in 855-856 actually induced 
to visit the Khalifa at Baghdad. Peace was then concluded and the 
matter of the tribute arranged. One of the chief clauses of the treaty 
laid stress on the facilities that were to be given to the Arabs to work 
the mines in the Bega countries. This done, 'Ali Baba returned in 
safety to his own country 2 . 

XVIII A new class now begins to appear in Egypt 3 . 

4 From the time when the Arabs came in contact with the Turks on the 
Oxus and brought them under their rule, Turkish slaves had been highly 
prized in Muslim households. Their physical strength and beauty, their 
courage, and their fidelity had won the trust of the great emirs, and 
especially of the caliphs who believed they could rely more safely upon the 
devotion of these purchased foreigners than upon their own jealous Arabs 
or the Persians among whom they dwelt and who had hitherto had a large 
share in the administration of the Empire. The young Turkish slave who 

1 Abu Salih, loc. cit. 

2 See Makrizi, Khetdt, II, 568, and Lane-Poole, pp. 41, 42. Lane-Poole, who 
quotes Ibn Miskawayh on this subject, somewhat confuses the Bega with the 
riverain Nubians. E.g. he speaks of 'Ali Baba as king of the Sudan and of his men 
as "blacks." It is, however, quite clear from the description of incidents that the 
trouble was with the Hamitic camel-owning nomads of the Eastern desert. Accord- 
ing to el Makrizi {loc, cit.) the war ended in 856. 

3 The Mamluk period proper does not commence yet. In a sense it may be 
said to begin with Saladin in 1175 : " Saladin the creator of the Egyptian Sultanate 
was also responsible for the introduction of the Mamluks" (Lane-Poole, Quart. 
Rev. April 1915); but "the real founder of the Mamluk Empire" was Baybars, 
who came to the throne in 1260. 

4 Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 59. The quotation included by Lane-Poole is from 
E. T. Rogers, Coins of the Tiiluni dynasty (Numism. Orient, iv), p. 2. 


served his master well usually acquired his freedom and received valuable 
court appointments. "The caliphs, who were often unable to appease the 
turbulent spirits of the native emirs, except by granting them special 
privileges and territorial rights, were gradually led into the opposite error 
of alienating the most powerful of their subjects, and in giving all their 
confidence to those foreign slaves, who thus acquired the entire control of 
the interior of the palace. These illiterate and barbarous white slaves (or 
mamluks), now incorporated into the society of the educated rulers of a 
great empire, soon became conversant with the law of the Koran. They 
adopted the language and religion of their masters. They studied science 
and politics; and when any of them became capable of undertaking the 
more difficult tasks or of occupying the more eminent posts in the court, 
they were emancipated, and appointed to the various government offices 
according to the talents they displayed. 

Thus manumitted Turks were appointed not only to the chief offices 
in the palace, but to the governorships of some of the most important 
provinces in the Empire." 

In the Sudan the Mamluks are generally known as the Ghuzz 1 . 

Egypt had naturally been affected by this revolution, and from 
about 836 the successive governors held it in fee for Turks at 

XIX Till 856 they were Arabs, but in that year 'Anbasa was recalled, 
and in September, 868, after a series of Turkish governors had ruled 
for a space, a Mamluk succeeded in founding a dynasty which was 
to direct the affairs of Egypt for fifty-seven years 2 . This man, 
Abu el 'Abbas Ahmad ibn Tulun, was a remarkably capable ad- 
ministrator, but ruthless in his methods, and with the new order of 
things the Arabs, who had fallen into entire disfavour, became 
extremely discontented and began to emigrate south and west to the 
Sudan and the Berber countries, to escape the heavy hand of the 

XX Within three months of his accession Ibn Tulun was involved 
in a Nubian expedition 3 . Its leader was Abu 'Abd el Rahman ibn 
'Abdulla ibn 'Abd el Hamid el 'Amri, and his force consisted chiefly 
of Rabi'a and Guhayna. As soon as affairs in Nubia had been dealt 
with el 'Amri turned eastwards towards the mines 4 , where since the 

1 Cp. Burckhardt, Nubia, p. 138; el Tunisi, Voy. ou Ouaddy, p. 319; and el 
Mas'udi, Ch. xvn, who speaks of "the Nomadic Turks, who are the Ghuzz." 
Sprenger deals exhaustively with this word in his edition of el Mas'udi (1 Vol.). 
They are properly the Seljuk Turks. The word Ghuzz is etymologically the same as 
" Scythian," and it occurs again in " Getes," " Massagetes," " Kirghiz," " Tunghiz " 
(Sprenger, loc. cit. pp. 238-240). The word is also used for the 'Ayyubite Kurds; 
see Bouriant (Makrizi), pp. 75 and 107. 

2 Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 42, 61. 3 Makrizi, Khetdt, II, 569, 575. 

4 It is said that 60,000 camels were employed transporting his provisions from 


treaties of 831 and 855-856 ever-increasing numbers of Arabs had 
been settling among the Bega. Most of the Rabi'a and Guhayna, 
instead of returning to Egypt, now took up their permanent abode in 
the eastern deserts and on the Red Sea coast and married Bega 
women. The chief result to Egypt was a cessation of the raids on her 
southern border, and to the Bega the acquisition of all tribal control 
by an Arab aristocracy 1 . 

XXI We need not follow the victorious career of Ibn Tulun in 
Syria nor the amazing dissipations of his successor in Egypt except 
to note that golden palaces and lakes of quicksilver must have spelt 
oppression to the taxpayer and proved an added incentive to emigra- 
tion. It is enough to say that after Egypt had weltered in blood for 
a further nine years an army sent by el Muktafi in 905 a.d. recovered 
the province for the Khalifate for some thirty years and removed the 
survivors of the house of Ibn Tulun to Baghdad 2 . 

XXII In 914 the Fatimite sectarians from the west, chiefly Ketama 
Berbers by race, began a series of attacks on Egypt. They were beaten 
back to Barbary in 920. Then followed fifteen years of utter anarchy, 
until in 935 Muhammad ibn Tughg was appointed by the Khalifa to 
restore order in Egypt. This he did, and for eleven years there is no 
record of any disturbance 3 . 

XXIII It was during Ibn Tughg's reign that el Mas'udi visited 
Egypt. Incidentally he gives us some valuable information as to the 
Arabs and the Sudan 4 . Nubia — he uses the word in a broad sense- 
was divided into two main districts, that of Mukurra to the north 
and that of 'Aloa to the south. Dongola ("Donkola," aJUo) was the 
capital of the former and Soba 5 of the latter. The most northernly 
portion of Mukurra was known as Maris. 

The hereditary king of Dongola was Kubra ibn Surur, and the 
southern district, 'Aloa, was also under his suzerainty. He was 
responsible for the payment of the ancient tribute which was still in 
force, namely 365 slaves, together with a present of forty for the 
Governor and twenty for his representative at Aswan and five for 
the Grand Kadi at Aswan and one for each of the twelve notaries 
assisting him. 

1 Compare the following, written of Southern Arabia:— "The supreme head 
of a tribal confederation is the Sultan. He is never a tribesman himself, but comes 
of an alien aristocracy imported by the senior confederate chiefs..." (W. Bury, 
Land of Uz, p. 293). 

2 Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 74-77. 

3 Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 81, 82. 4 Mas'udi, III, 31-34, 39-43. 

5 The emendation of "Soba" (ij^w) for "Sariah" (2uj~,) or "Souiah" 
(<L>^w, see Quatremere) is an obvious one. 


To the east, as far as the Red Sea, were the marauding Bega 
and the Arab tribes who had settled among them. The latter were 
chiefly Rabi'a, Mudr and various Kahtanites from the Yemen, and 
numbered about 3000. They had intermarried with the Bega and all 
alike owed ultimate allegiance to the great sheikh Abu Marwan Bishr 
(Bashir ibn Marwan) of the Rabi'a. 

The Bega themselves were still pagans, excepting, that is, the 
Hadareb, a warrior clan among them, who, it is stated, could put 
into the field 30,000 men mounted on camels. 

The Nubian chieftains, by now, it is interesting to note, claimed 
a Himyarite descent 1 , just as did the rulers of Kanem and Bornu at 
a later date. To some extent this may have been a result of inter- 
marriage with the Arab tribes who had settled round Aswan, for 
el Mas'udi especially notes that the population of that town — still a 
great trading emporium — was largely mixed with Nubian, and that 
numerous Arab families, Kahtanite and Isma'ilitic, had bought lands 
from the Nubians and established themselves there 2 ; but the claim 
may equally have rested on an intimate association of long standing 
with Abyssinia and its half- Yemenite population. 

Beyond 'Aloa, it was reported 3 , was " a great tribe of blacks called 
Kunna [Kenna ( ?), Kinna ( ?)]. They are naked like the Zing and their 
land produces gold. In the kingdom of these people the Nile divides." 
XXIV In 951 a successful raid was made by the Nubians on the 
oasis of Kharga which at this period was under the domination of 
the Luata Berber 4 . 

About five years later 5 they attacked Aswan but a punitive 

1 j-fs»- ^j-« lyjl^cp j^s^a. So an old Copt in 873 told Ibn Tulun (see 
Mas'udi, ii, 372-382). Cp. Quatremere, II, 16 (quoting Ibn Selfm, ap. Makrizi): 
" On dit que Selha, pere des Nubiens, et Makorry, pere des peuples du Makorrah, 
etoient natifs du Y£men. Suivant d'autres Noubah et Makorry etoient Hemiarites 
d'origine." See note to MS. "BA," para, cxxxm, in Part IV, for further remarks 
on this. 

2 Mas'udi, in, 41, 50. The tribes of Kahtan, Mudr, Nizar, Rabi'a and Kuraysh 
are mentioned. Burckhardt (App. ill, p. 529) remarks of this passage (which is 
quoted by Makrizi in Khetdt, 11, 572) : " The notice of these Arab tribes is interesting 
because it shews how this part of Africa came to be peopled by them, and explains 
why we find on the Niles, in Kordofan, Darfur and Borgho, pure Arabian blood." 

3 Mas'udi, 11, 383 (Ch. 31). Here again the old Copt's story to Ibn Tulun is 
being quoted. The Arabic is as follows: 

^ 01r ojlj -jJjJl^ Sl^s^rAj <UU j.cjkU ,«J! ^a i-o-Jic i-ol SjAs <A)33 

These "Kunna" are no doubt Ibn Selim's "Kersa" or "Kernina," for whom see 
p. 171. De Meynard and de Courteille wrongly translate "qu'on nomme Bekneh." 

4 Mas'udi, III, 51 ; Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 697, 698. 

B Makrizi, loc. cit. p. 574; Abu Salih, p. 267. 


expedition was despatched under Muhammad ibn 'Abdulla el Khazin 
who captured Ibrim, executed a number of Nubians, and led back 
others to Egypt as slaves. 

XXV A gap now follows in our knowledge of affairs in Nubia. But 
to the north of it important events were taking place. 

The Fatimites, supporters of the theory that the divine right of 
succession to the Khalifate was inherent in the descendants of the 
Imam 'Ali, the husband of the Prophet's daughter Fatima, had con- 
solidated their power in Barbary, and with the decline of the Ikhshids 
came the obvious chance of realizing the persistent ambitions which 
had already led them half a century before to invade Egypt 1 . The 
chance was not wasted. In 969 the heretical Fatimite Khalifa, Abu 
Tamim Ma'add el Mu'izz, with an army of Shi'ites entered Fostat 
in triumph 2 , and in the same year Cairo was founded. 

The new dynasty was phlegmatically accepted by the people of 
Egypt, and the Sherifs of the Holy Places and the ruler of northern 
Syria recognized it 3 . 

An attempt was also made to convert George, the king of Nubia, 
but it was unsuccessful 4 . 

XXVI Between 975 and 996 a.d. 5 was written Ibn Selim's account 
of "Nubia, Mukurra, 'Aloa, the Bega and the Nile." Such informa- 
tion as he gives us concerning events that happened before his time 
has been already quoted. We may now summarize what he tells us 
of the state of affairs in the last decades of the tenth century 6 . 

In the extreme north of Nubia Muhammadan settlers from Egypt 
had acquired lands and were practically independent. A number of 
the Nubians to the south of them, but north of the second cataract, 
had also been converted. 

The chief towns in this northern section were Begrash or Negrash, 
i.e. Faras 7 , Ibrim and el Derr (?) 8 . It was under the control of a 
powerful official known as the "Lord of the Mountain," the repre- 

1 The Shi'a doctrine had been introduced into Africa in 893 by 'Abdulla el 
Shi'i, and had been at once adopted by the great Berber tribe of Ketama. From 
them it spread rapidly among the other Berber-Arab tribes who formed the popu- 
lation of north Africa west of Egypt (Lane-Poole, Hist. Ch. iv). 

2 Lane-Poole, loc. cit. pp. 90, 98. His force consisted largely of Ketama and 
other Berber tribes. It also contained Greeks, Slavs, etc. (Makrizi, loc. cit. I, 269). 

3 Lane-Poole, loc. cit. p. 104. 

4 Ibid. p. 105. 

5 Quatremere, 11, 3. 

6 His geography is not very clear and I omit detailed discussion of the many 
points that arise. 

7 Arch. Rep. Nubia, 1910, Griffith, p. 19. The site is also that of the ancient 

8 This seems a fairly certain emendation for the "Adwa" ('ji') of some 


sentative of the king of Nubia 1 , and it was a part of his business to 
see that no one passed the barrier of the second cataract, i.e. that 
near Haifa, without due authorization. His authority seems to have 
extended nearly as far south as Sai. Beyond the southern limit of 
his dominions money was unknown and all trade was conducted by 
bartering slaves, cattle, camels, iron and corn for the products of the 
north. The " marisi" language was spoken as far south as " Yastu 2 ," 
a village lying about thirty-six miles south of the third cataract and, 
says Ibn Selim, marking the boundary between the provinces of 
Man's, or Nubia proper, and Mukurra (Mukurra proper?) 3 . Beyond 
this point lay two districts known respectively as Bakiin and Safad 
Bakl [Safdikal (?), Sandikal (?), Safdabkal (?) 4 ]. The latter extended 
as far south as Dongola, and Dongola was the capital of the whole 
country from the Egyptian frontier to the borders of 'Aloa. 

Ibn Selim comments on the fertility and prosperity of the country 
on either side of Dongola. 

Of the ordinary inhabitants he says practically nothing, but he 
mentions an immigrant sub-tribe of Bega called the Zenafeg who 
retained their own language and kept aloof from the Nubians : they 
led a pastoral life somewhere between the present sites of Abu 
Hammad and Berber. We shall see that farther north and east other 
Zenafeg were subject to the Hadareb. 

The territory of Dongola extended no further south than el Abwab 
(Kabushia), which was the northernmost district of the kingdom 
of 'Aloa 5 and was ruled by a vassal mek known by the title of 

1 That is, apparently, the king of Mukurra, of which district Dongola was the 
capital. Yakut mentions (see Abu Saiih, p. 261, note) that the king of Nubia called 
himself " King of Mukurra and Nuba" (sic). 

2 So Bouriant (^Zm»j). Burckhardt notes (p. 523): "I find this word written 
Yonso, Benso, Noso. Perhaps Mosho, the frontier town of Dongola, is meant." 
The "36 miles" are in the Arabic "3 barid." Burckhardt says a "barid" is 12 

3 Mukurra is generally spoken of in a wider sense (e.g. by Ibn Selim himself 
three pages later) as stretching much farther north, and on p. 549 Ibn Selim speaks 
of Negrash (Faras) as capital of Maris and on p. 554 as capital of Mukurra. Maris 
and Nubia proper are identified as distinct from Mukurra (pp. 551, 554). Pre- 
sumably Maris was merely a name sometimes applied to that northern portion of 
Mukurra which was inhabited by a distinct type of Egyptianized Ethiopian. The 
title of Ibn Selim's work (q.v. above) supports this. The word Maris is Coptic 
and means "the South," i.e. the most northernly part of Nubia, looked at from the 
standpoint of Egypt. (See Abu Salih, p. 260, and Makrizi, Khetdt, II, 372). 
Amelineau, on what grounds I do not know, says Mukurra extended from Korosko 
to the ancient Napata (Abu Saiih, p. 261, note): see note 5, below. 

4 See Burckhardt, pp. 496, 523. 

6 If so the southern boundary of Mukurra was presumably just north of 
Kabushia, i.e. within a few miles of the ancient Meroe. It is not absolutely certain 
from Makrizi 's text whether this fact is stated on his own authority or that of Ibn 
Selim. Burckhardt assumes the latter. 


"rahrah 1 ." On the banks of the Atbara, we are told, lived a tribe 
called the Digiun 2 connected on the one hand with the people of 
'Aloa and on the other with the Bega. Beyond them and bordering 
on Abyssinia were the Baza 3 , among whom "all the women bear the 
same name, and likewise the men." 

The hereditary kingship of 'Aloa was held in Ibn Seli'm's day by 
one Simeon whose capital was at Soba near the junction of the Niles. 

4 On voit dans cette ville des constructions fort belles, de vastes cou- 
vents 5 , des eglises ou Tor abonde et des jardins; l'un de ses faubourgs 6 est 
peuple de Musulmans. Le roi de 'Alouah est plus riche que le roi de 
Maqorrah; il a plus de guerriers et plus de chevaux; son pays est plus 
fertile et plus vaste 7 ; les palmiers et les vignes cependant y sont rares; la 
recolte la plus abondante est celle du dourrah blanc qui ressemble au riz ; 
on en fait du pain et de la biere....Ces peuples sont de la religion chretienne 
jacobite; comme chez les Nubiens, leurs eveques leur sont envoyes par le 
patriarche d'Alexandrie. lis se servent des livres grecs qu'ils traduisent 
dans leur langue. lis sont moins intelligents que les Nubiens. Leur roi 
est maitre absolu... 8 . 

In the Gezira, some distance south of 'Aloa, lived a certain people 
called the Kersa 9 . Of them it is related : 

a l'epoque des semailles, chaque individu vient avec ce qu'il possede de 
semences et forme un enclos en rapport avec la quantite de graines qu'il 
a apportees; puis il seme aux quatre angles de l'enclos une petite quantite 
de ce grain et depose le reste, avec un peu de biere, au milieu de l'enclos 

1 Burckhardt, "rahwah" (p. 497). Possibly the term is connected with the 
"Rehrehsa" of the stele of Heru-sa-atef. This king (sixth century B.C.) reigned at 
Meroe and records an expedition he made against a people of that name and two 
attacks by them on Merce. (See Budge, n, 80, 81.) 

2 May these be the Dagu, not yet gone to Darfur? It is unlikely; and Burck- 
hardt reads "Deyhyoun" {i.e. (J^s^i for C)5+^~i*) and Quatremere "Rihnoun" 

(n, 17). 

3 Burckhardt, "Nara." Two of his MSS. spelt it so, and one "Zonara." 

4 Trans. Bouriant, Khetdt, II, 557. For earlier mentions of 'Aloa see pp. 46- 

5 Burckhardt (p. 500) translates "handsome edifices and extensive dwellings." 

6 The Arabic is hjj, the plural of -kbj: Burckhardt (loc. cit.) translates "inns 
where Moslims live." He explains that the word means " public buildings destined 
originally for the accommodation of students ; many of them still exist in the Hedjaz 
and at Cairo where they have declined into mere lodging-houses." I think " hostels " 
would be the best translation. See note to " D 7," 1, in Part IV. 

7 Mas'udi (in, 32) had heard that 'Aloa was subject to the king of Dongola: 
he was probably misinformed. 

8 This passage cannot fail to recall the opening paragraph of MS. "D 7" {q.v. 
in Part IV). 

9 Bouriant gives "les Kernina" (U-Jj^Jt), Burckhardt (p. 501), "A nation of 
the name of Koroma or Kersa": the latter notes: "This I find written Korsa, 
Kortyna, and Koroma (\~>j£s 1.*).^ \x*3j£s)." The people are presumably the 
same as Mas'Qdi's "Kunna" (see p. 168). We shall later in this chapter find the 
Kersa grouped with the 'Anag and others in the thirteenth century. 


et s'en va. Le lendemain matin tout l'enclos est ensemence et la biere a 
ete bue; au temps de la moisson, on coupe quelques tiges que Ton depose 
dans un endroit avec de la biere, et Ton se retire; quand on revient on 
trouve la moisson faite et mise en gerbes. On fait de meme quand il 
s'agit de battre le grain ou de le vanner. Mais si quelqu'un, voulant 
sarcler son champ, arrache par hasard le moindre epi, il trouve le lende- 
main tout le champ arrache.... Les gens du pays attribuent cela aux genies ; 
ils croient que certaines personnes peuvent obliger, au moyen de certaines 
pierres, les genies a les servir...les nuages meme leur obeirent. 

Concerning the religion of the tribes of 'Aloa we are told that 

La plupart reconnaissent le Createur; ils lui font des sacrifices sous la 
forme du soleil, de la lune ou des astres. Certains d'entre eux ne con- 
naissent pas le Createur et adorent le soleil et le feu. D'autres adorent 
tout ce que leur plait: arbre ou animal 1 . 

A description of the nomad Bega and their country follows 2 . 
This is too well known to need much quotation. The main points to 
be noticed are that a matrilinear system still survived among them 3 , 
that they were by now divided into a number of independent tribes 
and no longer acknowledged the rule of a single supreme sheikh as 
in the time of 'Abdulla ibn Gahm. Among their customs was that of 
removing the right testicle from their male children : female excision 
was also practised. For the rest, most of what is said of the Bega and 
their ways might well have been written at the present day of their 

The Hadareb division of the tribe, who lived on the Red Sea 
coast and the Egyptian frontier, were the first Bega to be converted 
to Islam. The rest of the Bega were still practically all pagan, 
worshipping demons and living under the influence of their holy 
men. To these latter the Bega applied for guidance in their ventures 
and the holy man would in a frenzy of inspiration foretell success 
or failure. 

XXVII But to return to affairs in the north. The Fatimites remained 
in power in Egypt for some 200 years and the earlier period of their 
rule was one of sumptuous magnificence, art, and material prosperity. 
The western provinces, however, soon began to break away from 
their dependence: "Abu Rakwa," with a force of Ketama and Beni 
Kurra, a section of Gudham, seized Barka in 1005 in the reign of 
the fanatic Hakim 4 . After routing the Khalifa's troops he proceeded 
to occupy Upper Egypt. Here he was unsuccessful and suffered a 

1 Trans. Bouriant (p. 558). Cp. Quatremere, II, 25. 

2 Ibid. pp. 561-571. 

3 For the ancient prevalence of the matrilinear system see note to para, xxxm 
of this chapter. 

4 Lane-Poole, p. 128. Cp. p. 149, above. 


severe defeat. In consequence he fled to Nubia, where the king then 
was Raphael 1 , but was captured at the monastery of St Sinuthius in 
1006, taken to Cairo, and impaled 2 . 

Fresh risings, chiefly engineered by the Ketama, supervened, 
and in 1021 Hakim was murdered 3 . 

Hakim's mad rule had been a reign of terror : that of his successor 
el Zahir was equally so. 

XXVIII From 1036 to 1094 el Mustansir, the grandson of Hakim, 
ruled Egypt, but Syria was no longer subservient, and the Sanhaga 
and Ketama Berbers to the west offered no more than a nominal 
allegiance: they frequently gave less 4 . 

About 1044 the Sanhagi governor of North Africa, Mu'izz, 
renounced Shi 'ism, and two years later proclaimed his independence 5 . 
We have already seen how the Beni Hilal and Beni Sulaym, with 
other parties of Arabs, were dispatched from the Sa'id to bring him 
to reason, how they laid waste his country, and how they then 
amalgamated with the Berbers and remained in practically independent 
possession 6 . 

In spite of the loss of its provinces and the exactions of its rulers 
Egypt appears to have been fairly tranquil and prosperous. A Persian 
traveller has left a record 7 of his visit between 1046 and 1049 and has 
described the luxury of the capital. The composition of el Mustansir's 
forces at this time is worth noting: there were "20,000 mounted 
Ketama Berbers, 10,000 Batilis, 20,000 blacks, 10,000 'Orientals' 
[Turks and Persians], 30,000 purchased slaves, 15,000 Bedawis of 
the Hegaz, 30,000 black and white slave attendants and chamberlains 
(ustad), 10,000 palace servants (serayi), and 30,000 negro swordsmen." 
With such a heterogeneous army it is not surprising that in 1062 a 
serious internal crisis arose between the Turks and the Berbers on 
the one hand and the blacks on the other 8 . Neither side was animated 
by any loyalty to the Egyptian Khalifate and while 50,000 of the 
blacks were driven into Upper Egypt, whence they continued for 
some years to harry the more northernly provinces 9 , the Berbers 

1 According to Abu Salih (p. 265) Raphael introduced into Nubia a new style 
of architecture. " The King's house [at Dongola] is lofty, with several domes built 
of red brick, and resembles the buildings in Al 'Irak ; and this novelty was intro- 
duced by Raphael who was King of Nubia in the year 392 of the Arabs." 

2 See Abu Salih, pp. 262, 265: also Abu el Fida, Annates, 11, 616, there quoted. 

3 Lane-Poole, p. 134. 4 Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 136, 137. 
5 Lane-Poole, p. 138. 6 See p. 146. 

7 See Lane-Poole, pp. 139-142. 8 Lane-Poole, Hist. pp. 145-149. 

9 It is obviously most unlikely that Nubia paid any tribute during this period. 
About now we hear of Christodulus the 66th patriarch (1047-1100, see Evetts, 
ap. Abu Salih, p. 121) at Alexandria requesting and obtaining monetary assistance 


proceeded to overrun the Delta, and the Turks looted everything of 
value that could be found 1 . A seven years' famine followed and 
unheard of atrocities were perpetrated. However, in 1074, with the 
aid of Arab and Armenian troops from Syria the Khalifa managed to 
restore order, subdued the rebellious Berbers in the Delta and re- 
conquered the country as far as Aswan, so that a period of twenty 
years of prosperity followed. 

XXIX The latter half of the eleventh century saw the subjugation of 
Syria by the Selgiik Turkmans and the first Crusade. The Fatimite 
power now began to decline and it was supplanted in 1171 by the 
Sultanate of the 'Ayyubite Kurds under "Saladin" [Salah el Din 2 ]. 

XXX The histories of the Fatimite period are so concerned with 
foreign wars, court intrigues, murders, rebellions, and extravagances 
of successive governors that there is little to be gleaned as to the nomad 
Arabs. In the large towns the population must have gradually become 
more and more mixed with Turkish and negro elements, and a certain 
number of the Arabs joined this heterogeneous medley and adopted 
a sedentary life. These, of course, would tend to lose very quickly 
all racial purity and even tribal distinctions: they were merged into 
the Egyptians and do not concern us here. 

The nomads, on the other hand, remained practically unaffected. 
It is a striking, but not in the least surprising, fact that the tendency 
of each successive dynasty that ruled Egypt was increasingly to regard 
the Arabs, that is the nomads, not so much as forming an integral 
part of the state as an element of danger and unrest hovering on the 
borders of the country, to be made use of when convenient but never 
entitled to more consideration than they had the power to extort. 
The place they occupied, for instance, in Saladin's regard is not 
inaptly illustrated by the following quotation from Makrizi 3 : 

The Sultan [Saladin] proceeded to Alexandria for the following reason : 
there was a surplus population at Alexandria and at the same time money 

from the king of Nubia "on account of the exactions from which he suffered at 
the hands of the Government and of the Luata" (Abu Salih, p. 270). 

In the patriarchate of Cyril (1078-1092 (sic), see Evetts, ap. Abu Salih, p. 137), 
we are told, died Solomon, a king of Nubia who abdicated in order to lead a life 
of asceticism and was brought to Cairo and received there with honour and finally 
buried at the monastery of el Khandak in the suburbs of Cairo (Abu Salih, pp. 270, 

1 The most serious loss of this reign of terror was the destruction or dispersal 
of the Khalifa's priceless library of 100,000 books (see Lane-Poole, p. 149). 

2 Saladin was the first man to be styled Sultan in Egypt. However, both he 
and his sons and collaterals who succeeded him styled themselves only "Malik" 
on their coinage, though calling themselves "Sultan" in their building inscription 
and being commonly known as such. (Lane-Poole, Quart. Rev. April, 1915) 

3 Kitdb el Seluk (ed. Blochet), pp. 105, 106 (translated from French). 


was so very scarce there that he did not know what to do. He was told 
that there were ample resources in Barka and that there were only Arabs 
living there, who could not offer any serious resistance. So he went to 
Alexandria and there held a council... and it was decided to send an expe- 
dition to the country of the Arabs and to hasten the gathering of the corn 
crop before it was harvested.... Letters were also sent to the Arabs demand- 
ing the payment of their tithes and bidding them cease intercepting the 
roads by which the slave merchants passed. 

Again we read 1 that in 1 181 for no particular reason " orders were 
sent to seize the crops of the nomads ('Arabdn)" in the eastern 
provinces and to send them to Bahfra. Intercepting caravans and 
raiding other tribes seem to have been the main occupations of the 
nomads, as it still is in Arabia. Numbers of them were also employed 
as auxiliary troops in the various expeditions sent to Syria, Barbary, 
and the Sudan, but these were distinctly untrustworthy. 

There is no doubt that each year various sections, presumably 
those who had suffered most from oppression or famine, migrated 
further afield. Large numbers evidently took up their abode in 
Upper Egypt, others returned to Syria 2 , and others probably pushed 
further south into Nubian territory. 

At the same time there was a considerable body of immigration 
from Syria: we have seen, for instance, how the Awlad Sinbis 
section of Tai entered Egypt in 1050, and how other branches of the 
same tribe supplanted the Beni Gudham at the beginning of the 
'Ayyubite period 3 . 

XXXI Saladin ruled till 1 193 and this period was " the most glorious 
in the history of Muslim domination in Egypt 4 ." Sixteen years of his 
reign were taken up with campaigns in the East. He also found time, 
within two years of his accession, to conquer the Mediterranean 
littoral as far west as Gabes and to send a couple of expeditions into 
the Sudan 5 . These latter were rendered necessary by a movement 
which had begun in Nubia in favour of the Fatimites and had 

1 Ibid. p. 140. 

2 E.g. see Makrizi, Kitdb el Seluk (Blochet), p. 269. 

3 In 1 154 numbers of nomads accompanied Talai' ibn Ruzzik, the Governor 
of el Ashmunayn when he moved north and seized Cairo (Lane-Poole, p. 173). 
The usurper Shawar (1160-1169), who had been Governor of Upper Egypt, was 
an Arab (Lane-Poole, pp. 176, 186), and his rival Dirgham, in Cairo, was one of 
the Beni Lakhm (Lane-Poole, p. 176). The nomad armed with a spear and hovering 
on the outskirts of the battle is easily recognizable in the European accounts of 
the Crusades, as distinct from the heavy troops in mail, who would be almost 
entirely negro and Turkish mamluks. On the other hand, in 1249 we find the 
Kenana installed as garrison of Damietta (Lane-Poole, p. 232). 

4 Lane-Poole, p. 190. 

5 See Makrfzi, Kitdb el Seluk, p. no; Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 197; Abu Salih, 
pp. 266 et seq.; and Ibn Khaldun (ed. ar. Vol. 5, p. 287, Bk. 11) for what follows. 


culminated in an attack upon Aswan. The first army was sent under 
command of Shaga'a el Din el Ba'albeki. The rebels fled at its 
approach, were pursued by Shaga'a el Din and Kanz el Dowla, the 
chief of the half-Nubianized Beni Kanz and amir of the Arabs of 
Aswan 1 , and were heavily defeated. 

The second expedition 2 took place during the same year (1 172-3), 
and was led by Saladin's elder brother Turan Shah 3 . Ibrim 4 was 
taken, the Christian church pillaged, many captives taken — according 
to Abu Salih 700,000 — the bishop tortured, and 700 pigs slaughtered 5 . 

Turan Shah went no further than Ibrim. On his return journey 6 
he gave Aswan in fief to a certain Ibrahim the Kurd who turned it 
into a robber fortress whence he plundered the Nubians. When 
Turan Shah reached Kiis he was overtaken by a letter and presents 
from the king of Nubia. He treated the envoy well and gave him a 
robe of honour and two arrows saying "Tell the King I have no other 
reply than that." He also sent to enquire into the resources of Nubia 
an ambassador who went as far as Dongola and then returned and 
reported the country as 

" a poor one, where scarcely anything is grown except a little dura and some 
small date-palms on the fruit of which the inhabitants live. The king 
came out of his palace naked and mounted a horse without saddle or 
caparisons : he had wrapped round him a robe of silk, and he had not a hair 
on his head. I advanced towards him," said the ambassador, "and when 
I would have saluted him he burst out laughing. He appeared to under- 
stand no word of what I said, and he ordered one of his men to mark on 
my hand the figure of a cross. He gave me about fifty roth of corn. There 
were no buildings at Dongola excepting the palace of the king. The rest 
were all huts of straw." 

1 Some account of this chief was given in the last chapter. The name Kanz 
el Dowla was evidently a hereditary title: see p. 187. Ibn Batata (Vol. iv, p. 396) 
speaks of "Ibn Kanz el Din," i.e. Kanz el Dowla, as becoming a Muhammadan 
in the reign of el Ndsir, though the Nubians were still Christians. He probably 
failed to realize that Kanz el Dowla was not a pure Nubian himself. 

2 See note 5 on previous page. 

3 I.e. El Melik el Mu'azzam Shams el Dowla Turan Shah, surnamed Fakhr 
el Dfn. 

4 Of Ibrim at this time Abu Salih says (p. 266) : " In the land of Nubia is the 
city of Ibrim, the residence of the Lord of the Mountain, all the inhabitants of 
which are of the province of Maris; it is enclosed within a wall. Here there is a 
large and beautiful church, finely planned, and named after Our Lady, the Pure 
Virgin Mary. Above it there is a high dome, upon which rises a high cross." 
Ibrim, it will be remembered, was the ancient Primis. For the "Lord of the 
Mountain" see p. 169. 

6 Abu Salih (p. 267) also mentions the capture of a large quantity of cotton 
at Ibrim: it was taken to Kus and sold there. According to Ibn Khaldun, Turan 
Shah got practically nothing except slaves from the expedition, there being even 
a shortage of corn. 

6 Makrizi, Kitdb el Seluk, pp. 111, 112. 


XXXII In 1 174 Kanz el Dowla revolted with a following of Arabs 
and blacks and invaded Egypt in the Fatimite interest. Saladin sent 
his brother Melik el 'Adil against him, a battle was fought near Tud, 
and the Nubians were completely defeated. Kanz el Dowla himself 
was captured and put to death 1 . 

With the death of Saladin in 1193 the main centre of power and 
of interest moves from Egypt to Syria 2 and the continued record of 
wars with the Crusaders seldom touches our main thesis 3 . 

XXXIII We gather some valuable information concerning Nubia in 
the early years of the thirteenth century from Abu Salih the Armenian 4 , 
though his value is greatly decreased by his obvious confusion between 
Abyssinia and Nubia and by his credulity. 

The best-known place-names in Nubia were still, as in el Mas'udi's 
day, Maris, Mukurra, Dongola, and 'Aloa. 

Man's was the name of the most northernly province, which 
stretched southwards from the Egyptian border by Aswan to Korosko, 
that is to about 60 miles north of Wadi Haifa. Its capital was 
Bujaras "which is a well-populated city: there is the dwelling place 
of Jausar, who wore the turban and the two horns and the golden 
bracelet." This description is extremely interesting. The two horns 
at once suggest the takia 5 , or two-horned cap, of the Fung king 
and his Mangils; and the golden bracelet has surely survived in 
the name of the great Sowar el Dhahab ("Bracelet of Gold") family 
who still reside in Dongola and claim to be Bedayria of the Dah- 
mashi'a section. Mukurra was the district stretching from Korosko 
southwards. It probably contained seven episcopal sees, namely 
Korti, Ibrim, Bucaras (Bujaras), Dongola, Sai, Termus and Suenkur 6 , 
and certainly numerous monasteries and churches. 

'Aloa lay near the junction of the Niles. The name generally refers 
to the district of which Soba was the capital, but is also used, by 
Abu Salih, for instance, for Soba itself. 

The description given by Abu Salih of this district with its gar- 
risons and 400 churches of the Jacobite Christians will be quoted 

1 Makrfzi, Kit. el Seluk, pp. 118, 119; Khetdt, II, 574; Burckhardt, Nubia, 
p. 518; and Ibn Khaldun (ed. ar. Vol. 5, p. 289, Bk. 11). I have followed Makrfzi's 
version. Ibn Khaldun attributes the revolt to Kanz el Dowla's annoyance at 
certain lands near Aswan being allotted by Saladin to one of his amirs. He also 
differs as to the name of the leader of the punitive expedition. 

2 Lane-Poole, p. 212. 

3 Makrfzi {Kit. el Seluk, p. 464) mentions a revolt of Arabs in the Sa'id in 
1 240-1. 

4 See Abu Salih pp. 260 et seq. and notes by Evetts and Butler. Abu Salih's 
work was composed about 1208 A.D.: see p. x (Evetts). 

8 See Part III, sub " 'Abdullah." See also Part I, Chap. 1, XVII, for what may be 
a Himyarite parallel. 6 So Vansleb. 

M.S.I. 12 


later 1 when we come to record the destruction of Soba by the Fung 
300 years after Abu Salih's time. 

Dongola was the royal residence. " It is a large city on the banks 
of the blessed Nile, and it contains many churches and wide streets 2 ." 

Trade was all by exchange, and the chief medium seems to have 
been slaves who were handed over to the Arabs and Mamluks in 
return for cloths and suchlike. 

A matrilinear system still held good, for 

It is said to be the custom among the Nubians when a king dies and 
leaves a son and also a nephew, the son of his sister, that the latter reigns 
after his uncle instead of the son; but if there is no sister's son, then the 
king's own son succeeds. 

"Nephews" figure very largely in the records of this and the 
following century and we have already seen how the Arabs accepted 
and used for their own purposes this system of succession among 
the Nubians 3 . 

1 See D 7, I, note. 2 Yakut calls it "Dumkula" (dJJLo)). 

3 See the case of the Guhayna in the last chapter. The matrilinear system 
was quite understandable to the Arabs. Robertson Smith speaks of the "early 
and universal prevalence of mother-kinship" in Arabia as being "only gradually 
superseded by paternal kinship," and thinks "the old Arab groups of female 
kinship were originally totem tribes" (Kinship and Marriage, pp. 27-33 an( l 212). 
The practice is extremely ancient. See Breasted, Hist. p. 84, re the Old King- 
dom in Egypt: "the natural line of inheritance was through the eldest daughter 
...the closest ties of blood were through the mother..."; and ibid. p. 141, re 
the Middle Kingdom. Compare, too, the case of Thutmose (Thothmes) I of 
the eighteenth dynasty and of Osorkon I of the twenty-second (Libyan) dynasty in 
Egypt (Breasted, Hist. pp. 208, 364). The same system applied among the Bega 
(Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 561 ; Burckhardt, p. 503). It is also recorded about 1353 by 
Ibn Batuta as existing among the Berber princes of the country round Asben (Air) ; 
see Barth, 1, 338, 340, 341, and Cooley (p. 40) for the same in Ghana, Walata and 
Mali. The Berber tribes when they reached these parts pursued the same obvious 
course as did the Arabs when they entered Nubia. Barth says, "with respect to 
the custom that the hereditary power does not descend from the father to the son, 
but to the sister's son, — a custom well known to be very prevalent not only in many 
parts of Negroland, but also in India, at least in Malabar, — it may be supposed 
to have belonged originally to the Berber race... but they might also have adopted 
it from those tribes (now their subjects — the Imghad) who conquered the country 

from the black natives " Cp. also Barth, n, p. 273 (quoted on p. 92, note). We 

see an instance of the same custom among the Kababish seven generations ago. 
Keradim, who was the first of the Nurab family to rule the whole tribe, was the 
sister's son and successor of Kurban of the Ribaykat section, which had previously 
held the sheikhship (see MacMichael, Tribes..., p. 185). 

The custom is still in vogue at Gebel Mfdob (N.E. Darfur) — see Part I, Chap. 4, 
IV — and in the hills of Abu Hadid and Um Durrag and el Haraza in northern 
Kordofan. For instance, Abu Shenko the late "mek" of Abu Hadid told me in 
1 910 that his father was a Zaghawi from Kagmar and his mother the daughter of 
a local "mek," that the mother of Tibayn, the "mek" of Um Durrag, was the 
daughter of a previous mek but his father only one of the Asadab (non-royal) 
section at the same hill, and that the well-known 'Abd el Hadi who, though a Dolabi 
(D6alib) on his father's side, ruled the "Nuba" of el Haraza, did so by virtue of 
the fact that his mother was a Nubawia of the royal stock. 


XXXIV The geographer Yakut lived about the same time as Abu 
Salih and supplements the latter's information in some details: he 
tells us, e.g. that Suakin was peopled by blacks of Bega race, who 
were Christians 1 . Ibn Sa'id (1214-1287) calls them "partly Christian 
and partly Muhammadan 2 ." 

XXXV In 1250 the rule of the 'Ayyubites ended and that of the 
Bahrite Mamluks began. The political isolation of the Arabs was if 
anything increased by the change. Military power was the only 
standard of influence and the Arab levies had proved themselves in 
war after war to be quite inefficient as compared with the standing 
army of trained Turks and negroes which formed a military oligarchy 
of foreigners among a subject population 3 . 

The Arabs were not disposed to accept this state of affairs without 
a struggle. About 1253 those in Upper Egypt broke into revolt and 
mustered some 12,000 horse as well as a large force of infantry. The 
movement spread to the Delta, but the Mamluks, in spite of inferior 
numbers, speedily repressed it, and henceforwards the Arabs were 
a negligible factor of opposition in Egypt, and it is only in the extreme 
south and in Nubia that their fortunes can be followed 4 . 

XXXVI In 1260 Baybars, the great organizer of the Mamluk 
system, succeeded to the Sultanate 5 . In his time and that of his 
successors the Mamluk chiefs were "granted more and larger fiefs in 
the spoliated land of Egypt, and also drew great revenues from the 
exorbitant transit dues on the European trade with India, which 
necessarily passed through Alexandria 6 "; and it was probably these 
revenues alone which stood between the Egyptian taxpayer and utter 

Beybars, too, by a masterstroke of policy, revived at Cairo the old 
'Abbasid Khalifate overthrown at Baghdad by Hulagu two years 
before, and so made Egypt the premier state of Islam 7 . 

XXXVII In 1275-6 the Governor of Kus invaded Nubia as far 
south as Dongola because the king, Daiid, had failed to pay his tribute 

1 Vol. in, p. 182. 

2 Quoted by Ibn Khaldun (ed. ar. Vol. 6, p. 199, Bk. Ill; ed. de Slane, Bk. II, 
p. 105). 

3 Cp. Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 253. 4 Ibid. pp. 259, 260. 

5 His diploma from the Khalifa appointed him " Sovran of Egypt, Syria, the 
Hegaz, the Yemen, and the banks of the Euphrates and all lands plains or mountains 
which you may henceforth subdue." With his accession the title of Sultan appears 
on the coinage (Lane-Poole, Quart. Rev. April 1915). 

6 Lane-Poole, loc. cit. p. 536. 

7 Ibid. p. 540. The Khalif at Cairo was restricted to spiritual functions, and 
though technically he remained the head of Islam he was really no more than a 
puppet until the 'Othmanli Sultans assumed the office in 1538 A.D. {ibid. p. 530, 
and Hist. p. 265, note). 

12 — 2 


and repeatedly raided Egyptian territory in the neighbourhood of 
Aswan and 'Aidhab 1 . Daud wisely evaded an engagement and 
retreated southwards, so that the troops sent against him had to be 
content with capturing numbers of Nubians who had remained in 
their villages and taking them to Egypt, where they were put to 

XXXVIII In 1276 Baybars dispatched a much larger army, composed 
of regulars, provincials, and Beduins, under the command of Shams 
el Din el Farakani and Tzz el Din Aibek el Afram. They were also 
accompanied by Shekenda 2 , the son of Daud's sister, who had been 
to complain to Baybars against his uncle. 

The armies met somewhere between Aswan and Derr (?) 3 and a 
battle was fought in which the Nubians 4 were defeated and put to 

El Afram then marched rapidly on Derr(?) and put it to the 
sword, while el Farakani pushed on beyond the second cataract by 
land and river looting and slaughtering. 

Kumr el Dowla, who was apparently the " Lord of the Mountain " 
at the time, tendered his submission and swore allegiance to Shekenda. 

El Afram then proceeded southwards taking large numbers of 
prisoners, including Daud's wife, sister and brother: the king him- 
self, however, evaded capture 5 . Shekenda was crowned king on 

1 See Makrfzi, Khetdt, II, 586, and Burckhardt, p. 514. Bouriant writes "694" 
(a.h.) by error for "674," but correctly converts the date to June, 1275-June, 1276. 
Lane-Poole (Hist. p. 271) gives the date of this affair as 1272—3. If Daud pillaged 
the country round 'Aidhab, he must have been in alliance with the Bega tribes 
who interposed between the Nile and the Red Sea coast. 

2 Bouriant calls him "Skandah"; the MS. Hist. Kalaun gives " Meschkedet " 
(Quatremere, II, 111, etc.); Burckhardt gives "Shekendy" and notes "I find this 
name written in my MSS. Shekende, Sekebde, Tenekde, Sekende (Sjk*£w 3j^5w 
ojj£.^ Sj&j): see Nubia, pp. 514, 528. Ibn Khaldun (ed. ar. Vol. 5, p. 400, Bk. 11) 
gives "Martashkfn" (O* 5 ^* 5 J+) f °u r times, and "Min Tashkil" (JJCij k >«) 
once — probably by misprint. Ibn KhaldQn's account also makes " Martashkf n " 
the uncle instead of nephew of Daud: it is less detailed than that of Makrfzi, and 
the main discrepancies will be mentioned. 

3 Burckhardt, "KalletAddo" (3 jJ I 2uXs, i.e. j jJ! for j jJI). Seep. 169, note. 

4 Makrizi's statement that these ' ' Nubians ' ' were mounted on camels and clothed 
in long black tunics (Burckhardt, "black dekadek") suggests that they were largely 
Nubianized Arabs (Beni Kanz?) or semi-arabicized Bega allies of the same. It 
will be remembered that the Beni Kanz, who had amalgamated with the Nubians, 
were originally a branch of Rabi'a, the tribe which had amalgamated with the 
Bega; and the mention of 'Aidhab is significant. Black was the 'Abbasid colour, 
worn originally as a sign of mourning for el Hasan. A black robe is worn at the 
present day by the men throughout Upper Egypt and by the Barabra, 'Ababda, etc., 
in Lower Nubia. Its use declines further south. 

5 Ibn Khaldun (loc. cit.) says Daud fled to el Abwab (i.e. Kabushia), but was 
seized by the Mek of that district and sent a prisoner to Baybars, who threw him 
into a dungeon and left him to die there. 


consideration of his solemnly engaging to pay the ancient bakt 1 
and also to deliver yearly three giraffes, three elephants, five she- 
leopards, a hundred russet 2 camels and four hundred head of cattle. 
He also promised to hand over to the Sultan all monies and cattle 
that belonged to Daud and to the Nubians killed or captured by the 

By the same treaty Nubia was divided into two parts, and under 
this division the cataract district lying immediately south of Aswan 3 
became a fief of the Sultan, to whose person was payable the custom- 
ary proportion of the dates, cotton and other produce 4 . Such of the 
people as remained Christian were also to pay a yearly poll tax of 
one dinar for each adult male. The two amirs then destroyed the 
churches of the Nubians 5 and carried off the contents. They also 
insisted on twenty Nubian chiefs being handed over — as hostages, 
one supposes — and the release of such Muhammadans of Aswan and 
'Aidhab as the Nubians had imprisoned. 

1 The "bakt" is spoken of as "400 slaves and a giraffe, of which 360 slaves 
were for the Khalifa and 40 for the lieutenant of the Khalifa [i.e. the Sultan] in 
exchange for 1000 ardebs of wheat for the king and 300 ardebs for the royal dele- 
gates." Compare the terms quoted on p. 158. 

2 Burckhardt (p. 514), "camels of good race." 

3 It is spoken of as "nearly one quarter of Nubia," "Nubia" being apparently 
used in the sense of Maris or Nubia proper. 

* So I interpret the clause. Lane-Poole speaks of (1) the "bakt" of slaves, 
(2) the "tribute" of elephants, giraffes, etc., and (3) of an engagement "to pay 
half the revenue of the kingdom" in addition. Similarly, Burckhardt (p. 515), in 
his translation, rightly distinguishes between the "bakt" and the "annual personal 
tribute" of animals, and continues "and that the soil of Nouba should thence- 
forward be divided into two parts; one half for the Sultan, and the other to be 
appropriated to the fertilizing and guarding of the country ; excepting the territory 
of the cataracts, which was to belong entirely to the Sultan, on account of its 
vicinity to Assouan: this alone was about one-fourth of Nouba. Farther, that the 
dates and the cotton of this part, as well as the ancient customary duties, should 
be carried off, and that as long as they should remain Christians, they should pay 
the Djezye, or annual Om Dinar in cash, for every grown-up person." 

Bouriant alters the effect considerably by translating " II fut etabli que le terri- 
toire de la Nubie serait partage en deux parts, l'une destinee au Sultan et l'autre 
reservee pour l'entretien et la garde du pays; le district des cataractes, voisin im- 
mediat d'Assouan et formant a peu pres le quart de la Nubie, serait tout entier la 
propriete du Sultan qui recevrait les dattes, le coton et les autres redevances que 
payait le district depuis le temps le plus ancien. Les habitants restant Chretiens 
furent soumis a la capitation; chaque homme adulte devait payer par annee un 
dinar d'argent comptant." It seems to me inconceivable that the king of Nubia 
should have been expected to pay (1) " bakt " and (2) tribute and (3) half his revenues 
and also (4) to give up a quarter of the country, and I venture to suggest the inter- 
pretation offered. Ibn Khaldun (Vol. v, p. 400, ed. ar. Bk. 11) speaks of " an allotted 
tribute and certain definite gifts payable yearly, and the strongholds (^j^a^) near 
Aswan to pass to the Sultan (^jUstL-JJ iUaJli. C)$&)-" He says nothing of half 
the revenue of Nubia being taken by Egypt. 

5 There is no indication in Makrizi's narrative that the Sultan's troops went 
more than three or four days' march south of Haifa. Lane-Poole (Hist. p. 271) 
says "the forts of Daw [Derr?], Sus and Dongola were taken." 


XXXIX One point in this treaty is of particular interest : the district 
lying immediately south of Aswan was recognized as a perquisite of 
the Sultan of Egypt. This was no new idea. King Zoser of the third 
dynasty conveyed it to the God Khnum 1 , and about seventeen hun- 
dred years later Rameses III confirmed the gift for all time and made 
the inhabitants and the land itself and its produce free from taxation 
by the crown : its wealth was to be entirely for the service of the god 2 . 

The extent of this reserved area was from Aswan to Takompso, 
which latter was at least as far south as Muharraka, the classical 
Hierasycominos ; and in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods it was 
known as the Dodekaschoinos ("the field of twelve Schoinoi"), and 
considered a dependency of Egypt 3 . There is no trace there of 
typically Meroitic or Ethiopian settlements 4 . 

Its people were largely Egyptianized and it is evident that it was 
traditionally regarded as an annex of Egypt rather than an integral 
portion of the dominions of the king of Dongola. It is noticeable, 
too, that it formed, roughly speaking, "the boundary of the population 
that wrote in Meroitic" and corresponded approximately to the Dar 
Kanuz of the present 5 . 

When 'Abdulla ibn Sa'ad invaded the Sudan in 651-2 and formu- 
lated terms of peace nothing was said about this region to differentiate 
it from the rest of Nubia, but as the Arabs were new-comers and 
still unaware of the traditional history of the countries they were 
subduing, this is only natural. 

In the course of years they evidently learnt more, and we see the 
fruits of their knowledge in the attitude adopted in 831 after the 
Bega war : the only territory in Egypt or Nubia which was absolutely 
prohibited to the Bega was that lying between el Kasr (near Aswan) 
and el Kubban (near Muharraka), i.e. the old Dodekaschoinos. 

Now, in 1276 a.d., we have Baybars practically usurping that 
which had once been the right of the great god Khnum. It is not of 
course suggested that he was aware of the full import of his action 
from a historical point of view ; but merely that he knew a particular 
region to be traditionally regarded as a special reserve attached by 
certain ties to Egypt and seized the opportunity to monopolize it for 
his own benefit. 

1 Breasted, A. R. 1, 24. 

2 Ibid, iv, 146-150. 

3 Ibid. loc. cit., and Milne, p. 23, and Abu Salih, p. 260. 

4 Other than the X-group (Nobadae?). Arch. Surv. Nubia Bull. 7, 191 1. 

6 See Griffith, Nubian Texts..., p. 58. See also Cailliaud, 1, 394, where Kubban 
(which is close to Muharraka) is mentioned in 1821 as the southern boundary of 
the Mahass. 


XL Baybars died in 1277, and two years later el Melik el Mansur 
Sayf el Din Kalaun, a Turk of the Burg Oghlu tribe of Kipchak 1 , 
who had been one of the most competent of the generals of Baybars, 
usurped the throne. Shekenda meanwhile was murdered 2 , and a 
certain Berek elected in his place. The Mamluk governor 3 put the 
latter to death and Shamamun succeeded 4 . 

XLI In 1286 a.d. ambassadors arrived in Egypt from Ador, the 
"mek" of the district round Kabushia 5 , to complain against the 
king of Dongola for detaining and ill-using an envoy sent from 
Egypt to Ador. Ambassadors came also from Dongola. Kalaun in 
return sent one amir to visit the courts of Ador and the meks 
of the 'Anag and of Basa Kassala Kadaru and other districts 6 , 
and another to interview Shamamun. The southern princelets 
apparently made out the better case, for in the following year 7 
Kalaun dispatched an army against Dongola and sent orders to the 
Governor of Kiis to reinforce it from the Arabs of his province. 
These were mainly Beni Abu Bukr, Beni 'Omar, Beni Sherif, Beni 
Shayban, Beni Kanz 8 , Beni Rais and Beni Hilal. The first three 
were probably Kuraysh claiming descent from the first and second 
Khalifas of Islam and from the Prophet respectively, the Beni 
Shayban were a branch of Rabi'a 9 , and the Beni Rais were a branch 
of Beli. 

1 Lane-Poole, loc. cit. p. 278. 

2 See Quatremere, H, 1 11, quoting Hist. Kalaun. " Meschkedet " = " Shekenda " 
(see p. 180). 

3 Of Aswan and the cataract district presumably. 

4 Ibn Khaldun (ed. ar. loc. cit. p. 401), "Baytmamun," but later (p. 429) 
" Semamun." 

5 He is called "King of the Gates," i.e. of el Abwab: the district of Kabushia 
was so called until quite lately: cp. MS. D 3, and see Crowfoot, Some Lacunae..., 
p. 6. 

6 The passage in the History of Kalaun, as translated by Quatremere, runs as 
follows: "Le Sultan envoya l'£mir Alem-ed-din-Sandjar-al-Moaddamy, en qualite" 
d'ambassadeur, aupres du roi de Nubie, Ador, roi des Portes, et des princes de 
Barah (Bazah), Al-Takeh, Kedrou, Denfou, Ary, Befal, Anedj et Kersah" (Quatre- 
mere, 11, 101). Crowfoot wrongly gives "Densou" and "Besal." The name Basa 
for a district east of Kabushia still survives, and "Kedrou" is probably Kaderu, 
a site eleven miles north of Khartoum : the village of the same name near Sennar 
may however be intended. "Taka" was the name of the district round Gebel 
Kassala until lately (see D 7, passim). Crowfoot (loc. cit.), presumably identifying 
"Kersah" with the name of the tribe mentioned by Ibn Selim as living in the 
Gezira (see para, xxvi above), says that Kersah "lay between the White and Blue 
Niles." Denfou, Befal and Ary are not identified. The centre of the 'Anag country 
may have been at el Haraza (see p. 185). One is surprised to see no mention 
of S6ba or 'Aloa; but possibly the name Barah (Bazah), i.e. SjJ (?), may be a cor- 
ruption of Soba (aj^*j). 

7 So el Nuwayry and Makrizi, ap. Quatremere (11, 102), and Ibn Khaldun 
(loc. cit.). 

8 Ibn Khaldun, "Awlad Kanz el Dowla." 9 Wustenfeld, A and B. 


The Beni Hilal and Beni Kanz have been sufficiently described 

The army was divided into two portions, one of which followed 
the west bank of the river and the other the east. Shamamun made 
no attempt to withstand its advance, but wrote to Gurays, the "Lord 
of the Mountain 1 ," and "Governor of the isles of Mikhail and the 
province of Daw" [Derr(?)], ordering him to follow the policy of 
retreating gradually until he joined forces with him. 

The Muhammadans overtook the Nubians at Dongola and de- 
feated them with great slaughter. Shamamun fled and Gurays was 

Shamamun's nephew 2 was then appointed by the victors to the 
throne of Dongola, and Gurays was reinstated as his vassal and ordered 
to pay tribute. 

This done, the Arabs retired, but Shamamun at once reappeared 
and reconquered his kingdom and ejected his nephew and Gurays. 

XLII In 1289 a larger force, accompanied by the two deposed 
rulers, was sent from Egypt. During their advance Shamamun's 
nephew died at Aswan and was replaced by a nephew of the old 
king Daud 3 . 

The Arab advance was in the main the same as on the occasion 
of the previous expedition, but Gurays and the Awl ad Kanz went 
ahead of the main army to try and effect by peaceful means what 
the troops would otherwise achieve by force of arms. Resistance 
was only met with when the territories of Gurays had been left 
behind, but when Dongola was reached it was found that Shamamun 
had fled to an island fifteen days to the south, and within three days' 
journey of Kabushia. 

The Arabs lost no time in pursuit, and Shamamun, deserted by 
his adherents, retired to the capital of Ador. 

The country at once submitted peaceably, the necessary formalities 
were arranged at Dongola, and by 1290 the Muhammadans were 
back in Cairo with their booty. It is almost unnecessary to say that 
Shamamun immediately reappeared in Dongola, and without any 

1 From Abu Salih (p. 266, quoted above) we gather that the Lord of the Moun- 
tain lived at Ibrfm and that the people there belonged to the province of Maris. 
Speaking, however, of Mukurra (p. 262) Abu Salih mentions "A city called the 
city of Bausaka. This is a large and handsome city, full of people and of all com- 
modities, and possessing many churches. Here dwelt the Lord of the Mountain, 
whose eyes were put out by George, son of Zacharias Israel. Here is the monastery 
of Saint Sinuthius...near the town there is a gold mine." 

2 Presumably his sister's son; see p. 178. 

3 Ibn Khaldun instead of "nephew of Daud" gives "Daud the son of Mar- 
tashkin's brother" (loc. cit.). 


trouble re-established himself in his old position. He also put to 
death Daud's nephew 1 and Gurays, and wrote to Kalaun offering to 
pay the tribute that had been assessed and to give no trouble. Kalaun, 
having other and more important matters to deal with, was in no 
position to refuse, and the same year he died. 

Shamamun was consequently left undisturbed for a time. One 
gathers, however 2 , that he soon began to give trouble again, and that 
a certain lesser mek called Any also revolted. Whether a separate 
expedition was sent against each or whether the same one dealt with 
both is not clear owing to the fragmentary state of the only manu- 
script. The latter is far more probable. In any case Any escaped, 
two days before the arrival of the troops, to the stronghold of the 
'Anag, which was very likely Gebel el Haraza 3 , and Shamamun was 
replaced by a king called Boudemma, who had previously been in 
prison in Egypt. 

The latter of these two events seems to have occurred in the reign 
of Kalaiin's immediate successor, that is, between 1290 and 1293 4 , 
and the veteran 'Izz el Din el Afram, the leader of the expedition of 
1276, was the amir sent to carry out the investiture. 

'Izz el Din also pushed southwards a distance of 33 marches 5 
beyond Dongola, evidently with the intention of meeting the mek of 
Kabushia district [Quatremere's " roi des Portes"], who was probably 
Any's overlord. But the mek failed to put in an appearance and 
wrote later to 'Izz el Din pleading as his excuse that he had been 
away pursuing Any. He also mentioned that the 'Anag country had 
been lately invaded by some alien tribe, but that he proposed trying 
every means to eject the intruders, and that if he succeeded all the 
country of the blacks would be subject to the Sultan. 

On his return from Kabushia 'Izz el Din received the oath of 
allegiance from Boudemma and the priests at Dongola and returned 
to Egypt. He left behind him a guard of infantry for the new king 
and a large supply of corn 6 . 

1 Ibn Khaldun, "Daud" (loc. cit.). 

2 See Hist. Kalaun, ap. Quatremere. 

3 See MacMichael, Tribes of N. and C. Kordofan, pp. 87 ff. The difficulties 
of water transport which prevented the troops pursuing him shew that he fled 
inland from the river. The prevalence of local traditions to the effect that el Haraza 
was a stronghold of the 'Anag support the theory that it was there Any took refuge. 

4 See Hist. Kalaun, loc. cit. 'Izz el Din, on his return, reported results to " El 
Melik el Ashraf.*" The latter, whose full name was El Melik el Ashraf Salah el Din 
Khalil, was Kalaun's son and successor (Lane-Poole, p. 284). 

6 Assuming he travelled fairly hard this would bring him to Kabushia, which 
was normally, as we have lately seen, 18 days' journey (i.e. 36 marches) from 

6 The History of Kalaun carries us no further. 


XLIII In 1299 1 the Mamliiks suffered a severe defeat at the hands 
of the Mongol hordes at Hims, and one of the after-effects of this 
and of the oppressive taxation necessitated by a depleted war-chest 
was the serious Beduin revolt which broke out in Upper Egypt in 
1302. The trouble was quelled with promptitude and thoroughness. 
From Giza and Atfih southwards thousands were put to the sword 
and their possessions confiscated. A nomad wherever found was at 
once executed 2 . It is said that 8000 oxen, 6000 sheep and goats, 
4000 horses, and 32,000 camels formed the spoil. 

XLIV Meanwhile, the settlement of Nubia seems to have been 
distinctly successful, for in 1 304-1 305 we have the king Amai 3 
bringing presents to Cairo and seeking aid from the Sultan el Nasir 
Muhammad ibn Kalaun, and obtaining it. Taktoba the Governor of 
Kus was sent to help Amai with an army of regulars and Arab 
auxiliaries 4 . 

In 131 1 the tribute was paid by Kerenbes 5 , the last Christian 
king of Dongola, but he was evidently less docile than his predecessors, 
for both in 13 15 and 13 16 troops had to be sent to Dongola. The 
second of these two expeditions was accompanied by 'Abdulla ibn 
Sanbu, nephew of Daiid, and resulted in the capture of Kerenbes 
and his brother Abraam and their removal to Cairo 6 . 

'Abdulla ibn Sanbu — a Muhammadan — was then made king. 

XLV A new favourite now appears for the Nubian throne, Kanz el 
Dowla the chief of the Beni Kanz settled round Aswan. He attacked 
'Abdulla, put him to death, and made himself king. Whether he had 
allied himself by marriage with the royal house, in the usual manner, 
or whether he had no other right than might, we do not know. 

1 Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 300. 

2 If he claimed not to be a nomad he was told to pronounce the shibboleth 
" dakik," the k of which the Egyptian would pronounce as an 'am and the Beduin 
as a hard g. „ 

3 Ibn Khaldun (ed. ar. Vol. 5, p. 429, Bk. 11) calls him "Ay" (^1) and says 
he does not know if he was "Semam tin's" successor or whether any other ruler 
interposed between the reigns of the two. He dates his death in 13 16, but is 
probably in error. 

4 El Makrizi, Kit. el Seluk, ap. Quatremere (11, 114): cp. Lane-Poole, p. 299. 

5 Makrfzi, loc. cit. Ibn Khaldun calls him (loc. cit.) "Kerbays" and makes 
him brother as well as successor of Amai ("Ay"). Makrfzi's account is adopted 
in the following paragraphs. 

6 Ibn Khaldun {loc. cit.) gives " 'Abdulla Nashli." He says he was one of the 
Nubian royal family who had lately settled in Egypt and been converted to Islam. 
Ibn Khaldun's account of what follows is that "Kerbays" fled to the Mek of 
el Abwab and that the Sultan requested the Mek to hand him over and that the 
Mek complied. Kerenbes must have been sent to Egypt by way of the Red Sea, 
e.g. via 'Aidhab, for after 'Abdulla's murder, according to Ibn Khaldun, the rebels 
sent to el Abwab for Kerenbes and only then learnt that he was in Egypt. When 
the Sultan heard of the episode he sent Kerenbes to them and he became their king. 


The Sultan sent Abraam to Nubia with the promise of the suc- 
cession if he could oust Kanz el Dowla. The latter submitted quietly, 
but Abraam only lived a short time and Kanz el Dowla was then 
reappointed by the Nubians. 

In 1323 x the Sultan again sent an army against Kanz el Dowla, 
this time with Kerenbes attached to it as prospective king. Kanz 
el Dowla fled and Kerenbes entered on his second reign. As invari- 
ably happened, however, the retreat of the Arab or Mamluk troops 
was the signal for the reappearance of the pretender, and Kanz el 
Dowla was soon installed again. 

XLVI But the kingdom of Nubia had now to all intents and pur- 
poses ceased to exist and such "kings" as reigned in name were 
puppets of the Arab tribes. The tribute had been abolished when 
the paramount king was no longer a Christian and great hordes of 
Arabs, mainly Guhayna, were pouring into the Sudan and rapidly 
overrunning it as far as Abyssinia and Darfur. 

It is from this period, the early years of the fourteenth century, 
that the immigration of most of the camel-owning nomads of the 
Sudan dates. Generally speaking, it seems, the Guhayna and their 
allies, most of whom we may be sure were Fezara, loosed their hordes 
southwards and westwards, leaving the Beni Kanz and 'Ikrima in 
northern Nubia and Upper Egypt. From the Arabic historians we 
hear no more of these southern migrants of the Guhayna congeries, 
for they passed beyond their ken, but the native manuscripts of the 
Sudan, as will be seen, take up their tale. 

XL VII Of affairs in Nubia, too, we hear no more till 1366. In that 
year the country round Aswan, from 'Aidhab on the east to the oases 
on the west, was ravaged by the Beni Kanz and the 'Ikrima 2 , the 
former of whom in particular were now extremely powerful, and 
envoys were sent to the Sultan at Cairo to report that the King of 
Nubia had been murdered by his nephew and some Beni Ga'ad, a 
section of the 'Ikrima. The loyalists had elected the late king's brother 
to succeed him and were holding the fortified post of Daw [Derr ( ?)]. 
The rebels had taken Dongola but had then quarrelled among them- 
selves with the result that the pretender had succeeded in treacherously 
murdering most of the Beni Ga'ad. He had then collected a force 
of other Arabs and started to attack Daw [Derr(?)]. The Sultan 
granted the embassy's request for aid, and dispatched an expedition 
to Nubia, partly, it seems, to reinstate the legitimate king and partly 
to repress the Beni Kanz and 'Ikrima. 

The result was on the whole satisfactory, but the fact that the 

1 Makrfzi (loc. cit.) is still the authority. 2 Makrizi, loc. cit. 


murdered king's brother was installed at Daw [Derr(?)] and not at 
Dongola suggests that success was only partial. The Beni Kanz so 
far from offering any resistance, gave every facility to the troops ; and 
such of the 'Ikrima as resisted were killed. 

XL VIII What happened eventually to the new king is not known. 
In 1397-8 there is record 1 of a king called Nasr el Dm who was 
ousted by one of his relatives and fled to Cairo for help — which the 
Governor of Aswan was told to give. From his name this king must 
have been a Muhammadan, and for all we know he may have been one 
of the Beni Kanz. At this period the Beni Kanz and other Arabs 
and the HowAra and other Berber tribes were amalgamating rapidly 
with the riverain Nubians, northwards from Dongola, and Islam was 
supplanting Christianity in a corresponding ratio. 

The power of the Mamliik government so far up the river was 
almost negligible 2 , and the state of affairs under their rule in Egypt 
was such as to offer every inducement to the nomad tribes to depart 
to districts where they were not subjected to any alien power. If an 
expedition was sent to Nubia it was easy for the tribes to give way 
for the time being and to resume their old status as soon as the troops 
had gone. 

Thus the settlement of Nubia by the Arabs proceeded to all 
intents undisturbed, and by the fifteenth century the racial charac- 
teristics of the population in the neighbourhood of the first two 
cataracts, and perhaps as far south as Dongola, had become sub- 
stantially what they are to-day. 

XLIX In the east, we learn from the traveller Ibn Batuta (1302- 
1377), the Sultan of Suakin, which belonged to the Bega, was a 
Sherif, whose father had been amir of Mekka but who was con- 
nected on his mother's side with the Bega. Between 'Aidhab and 
Suakin he records an encampment of some Arab Awlad Kahil 
(J.a>1£> y^jl), "mingled with the Bega and understanding their 
language 3 ." Others of these Awlad Kahil and some Guhayna, 
together with Bega, composed the Sultan's military force. Probably 
the Awlad Kahil here mentioned represent the same people who 
appear as Kawahla {sing. "Kahli") or Awlad Kahil at the present 
day and who contain a section of the 'AbAbda 4 . 

1 Quatremere, II, 124. 

2 About 1403 Aswan ceased for a time to be under Egypt (Makrfzi, Kheldt 
(ap. Quatremere, loc. cit.), and cp. Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 308). In that year the Sa'id 
was prey to a dire famine and it is said that 17,000 deaths occurred at I£us, 11,000 
at el Siut, and 15,000 at Hou. (Makrizi, Khetdt, n, 548.) 

3 Ibn Batuta (11, 161): ^^iL-b ^9j\£. SU»*JL> ^JaJUs 

4 See Part III, Chap. 5. 


L We have seen in the preceding chapter what was the approximate 
distribution of the chief Arab tribes in Egypt when el Makrizi wrote 
his treatise, a century later than Ibn Batuta. He tells us that the 
greater part of Upper Egypt belonged 1 to six tribes, the Beni Hilal, 
the Beli, the Guhayna, the Kuraysh, the Luata (Howara ?) 2 and 
the Beni Kelab. 

Besides these tribes many of the Ansar had settled there and 
numbers of the Muzayna, Beni Darag, Beni Kelb, Tha'aliba and 
Guzam (Gudham) 3 . 

LI From 1382 to 15 17 the Circassian Mamluks held Egypt. They 
ruled entirely by the aid of alien mercenaries, Circassians, Turks, 
Greeks and Mongols, and the country passed through an era of 
cruelty, debauchery, corruption and injustice which even in its own 
stormy annals were unprecedented. During this period revolts of 
nomads and cultivators alike were frequent, but uniformly shortlived 4 . 

LII In 1504, in the far south, the Fung and Arabs combined to 
form a native Sudanese kingdom in the Gezira of Sennar. 

In 1 5 17 Selim I, Sultan of Turkey, defeated the Mamluks, and 
Egypt, from being an independent Sultanate, became a province of 
the 'Othmanli empire. 

But Selim' s control did not end at the first cataract. The country 
south of it was already peopled by a race who were more nearly akin 
to their northern than to their southern neighbours, and he extended 
his rule over them to the neighbourhood of the third cataract and 
placed them under a number of Kdshifs 5 . These Kdshifs were 
officials of Turkish or Bosnian descent and had under their orders a 
number of mercenaries, mostly Bosnians, to act as garrisons: in fact, 
the system of Selim was almost exactly the same as that of Psam- 
metichus I. The term Ghuzz as used in the Sudan applies in- 
differently to these Bosnian mercenaries and to the Mamluks, and there 
is no doubt that they settled in Nubia in sufficient number to modify 
distinctly the racial type in certain of the northern riverain districts 6 . 

1 The past tense is used. 

2 Bouriant gives " Laouatah," Burckhardt (p. 529) "Howata." Either may be 

3 Makrizi, Khetdt, 11, 547, also translated by Burckhardt, p. 529. The latter 
speaks of the Muzayna as "a strong tribe of Beni Harb." 

1 See Lane-Poole, Hist. p. 327. Most of these Circassians apparently did not 
know how to speak Arabic, which was merely the language of the common people 
(Lane-Poole, Quart. Rev. April 1915, p. 542). 

5 See Budge, 11, 201, 207, and Norden, 1, 58-62. 

6 Cp. J. A. St John, 1, 433. "The inhabitants of Derr are supposed to be the 
descendants of a number of Bosnian soldiers, established in Nubia by Sultan 
Selym." They preserved their fair complexion though often intermarrying with 
blacks. See the account of the Shaikia in Part III. 


LIII It was a few years before Seli'm's conquest of Egypt that Leo 
Africanus travelled through the negro kingdoms of West Africa, and 
immediately after it that he went on a journey up the Nile valley 1 . 
The bulk of his work deals with the half-arabicized Berbers living 
between the Mediterranean and the Niger. These " Affricani bianchi" 
as he calls them, he divides into the five tribes of Sanhaga, Zenata, 
Howara, Masmuda and Gumeri (GhomAra 2 ). They were nomads, 
and the majority of them spoke the Berber tongue 3 , but most of the 
Howara and Gumeri spoke Arabic, though corruptly. 

Branches of them had by Leo's time been pushed farther south 
" to inhabite those deserts which border vpon the land of the negros 4 ," 
though the main portion of the race remained in the north where they 
had blended their stock with that of the Arabs. 

Of Nubia Leo tells us very little. He says that on the south it 
was bordered by the " Desert of Goran," i.e. the steppes of northern 
Kordofan, and, as has been mentioned, that the Nubians were much 
harried both by the Tibbu tribes ("Zingani") who inhabited this 
region and by the desert dwellers to the east of the Nile 5 . 

Of Aswan he merely tells us 6 that the inhabitants were "mingled 
with the people of Nubia and Ethiopia." Beyond it were villages of 
blacks subject to the nomad "Bugiha" (Bega). 

LIV Marmol Caravajal, who wrote about 1520 and plagiarized 
freely from Leo, states that " Dangala " the capital of Nubia contained 
ten thousand houses of mud and was a rich trading centre 7 . 

1 He is an accurate and not over-credulous writer but unfortunately one is 
often not sure whether he speaks of what he actually saw or whether he speaks at 
second hand, and he follows no system in transliterating Arabic words into Italian. 
He was first translated from the Italian into English by John Pory in 1600. Where 
Leo is at fault in the matter of transliteration Pory makes things worse by care- 
lessness and random alterations, Leo uses Ibn el Rakik, el Mas'udi, and el Bekri 
freely and undisguisedly. He died in Tunis, after a long sojourn in Italy, in 1552. 
(See ed. Brown, note to Bk. vn and p. an.) 

2 In this Leo follows Ibn el Rakik (q.v. ap. Carette, pp. 49, 433, etc.). Pory 
writes "Zanhagi," "Zeneta," "Haoari." For "Howara" Leo wrote "Aoara." 

3 Leo, Bk. I, p. 151. * Ibid. p. 157. 
B See Part I, Chap. 2, xli, and Leo, Vol. in, Bk. v, p. 836. 

6 Ibid. p. 903. 

7 Vol. in, pp. 71 ff. Marmol's remarks concerning the wars of the Prince of 
Dongola with the nomads of the Bayuda and of the Eastern Desert have already 
been quoted (see Part I, Chap. 2, xli). 






Sa'b = Anmar 











El Ghauth 
Kavs Kobba 






Bohtha ibn Sulaym 
(See Tree 2) 




M.S.I. 13 



In the chapter that follows an account is given only of those Arabic- 
speaking tribes which are the best known in the Sudan at the present 
day and in which the Arab element either preponderates or is at 
least sufficiently strong to warrant the popular definition of them as 

Thus there is no account of the Bishariin, Hadendoa, Halanka 
and Beni 'Amir of the Eastern Deserts — the Bega of the Middle 
Ages — who are predominantly Hamitic and do not have Arabic in 
general use; nor of the Nubian Mahass and Sukkot of Haifa Pro- 
vince; nor of the "Nuba" of el Haraza and Kaga; nor of the Fung 
and Hamag of the southern Gezira, whose affinities are rather with 
the Shilluk and Burun than with the Arabs. Some description has 
already been given in Part I of their general ethnical characteristics 
and history, and from the text and notes contained in Part IV further 
items of information may be gleaned. 

On the other hand, it is impossible to avoid devoting some space 
to the Danagla, and to the various branches of the Mahass who 
have taken up their abode south of the cataract regions, since it is 
beyond question that they have as much Arab blood in their veins 
as, for instance, the sedentary "Arabs" of Central Kordofan; and 
for the same general reason a short notice concerning the 'Ababda 
has been inserted, and the Hawawi'r, though largely of Berber origin, 
have a section to themselves. 

Some few of the names that are applied in the "nisbas" as 
though to distinct and separate tribes, and other names that are more 
or less familiar in the same sense to the natives of the Sudan, will not 
be found heading paragraphs in this chapter, but a reference to the 
index will generally shew that such are in fact included among the 
subdivisions of a larger tribe or dealt with incidentally elsewhere. 
Under this category in particular fall the family groups — the name 
tribe would be a misnomer — of the Medanii'n Hasunab, Faradiin, 
Delaykab and others, who only derive a separate entity from the 
fact that their forebears were well-known holy men of the eighteenth 
century, or perhaps merely members of the entourage of such. 

In two respects at least the Arabs of the Sudan form a single 
entity. They are all Muhammadans, though their Muhammadanism 
has been tainted by the customs and superstitions of the various 



autochthonous inhabitants among whom they have settled ; and they 
speak Arabic. In fact the colloquial Arabic of the Sudan contains 
many words and phrases that would be incomprehensible in Egypt 
or Syria but which have well-established classical authority: this is 
naturally most true of the nomad Arabs and applies less to the 
riverain populations. The words of Escayrac de Lauture remain sub- 
stantially correct: 

Leur langue alteree un peu par le temps, accrue de quelques mots 
empruntes aux vocabulaires des negres, est cependant encore la langue du 
Hedjaz plus harmonieuse, plus concise, plus energique, plus grammaticale, 
et plus arabe que les jargons paries en figypte et dans le Gharb. 

It would, however, be difficult to give a detailed history of the 
Arab race in the Sudan in the form of a single narrative. To deal 
with it tribe by tribe is an easier method, and this I will now attempt 
briefly to do. 

In the second Part mention was made of the largest or most im- 
portant of those well-known Arabian tribes which sent branches to 
the Sudan, and the plan was adopted of following the fortunes of 
each in turn, as a single whole where feasible, or otherwise as a number 
of subdivisions which had become practically independent of one 
another, down to the point of their entry into the Sudan. 

In this chapter, whenever occasion arises, it will be more conveni- 
ent to reverse this process, and taking in turn the best-known Sudanese 
Arab tribes of the present day, to attempt to connect each of them 
with its respective parent stock. 

[ J 97] 

The Ga'aliin and Dandgla Group 

I Of the main groups into which the Arabs of the Sudan are popu- 
larly divided, and in particular by the native genealogists, the largest 
and most widely distributed, and at the same time the most loosely 
knit, is the Ga'aliin. 

The distinguishing feature of the congeries included under this 
name — it cannot be called a tribe — is the claim of its members to be 
descended from el Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet; so that in fact 
the word Ga'ali used in its wider sense has become practically 
synonymous with Abbasi, and is borrowed by all the numerous 
families from Abyssinia to Lake Chad who regard, or make some 
show of regarding, el Abbas as their forefather. Not only is this 
pretension of the Ga'aliin unsupported by evidence, but the actual 
derivation of their name as accepted by its holders would sufficiently 
indicate both its hollowness and the popular appreciation of the same, 

It is said 1 that a certain Ibrahim, a descendant of el Abbas, in a 
time of famine relieved the distress by his munificent charity, was 
surnamed "Ga'al" by the recipients, because he said "ga'alnakum" 
("we have made you"), and thus obtained a considerable following. 
The members of the Ga'aliin group perfunctorily claim to be lineally 
descended from this Ibrahim, but obviously, in so far as the tradition 
is anything but a pure invention, it only indicates the collection under 
the leadership of a single man, who claimed to belong to the Beni 
Abbas, of a more or less heterogeneous medley of tribesmen. 

II The term Ga'aliin in its vague genealogical sense is still made 
applicable to most of the northern riverain tribes, such as the Gaw- 
abra and Bedayria, and also to the Shaikia, the Batahi'n, the 
Gawama'a and Bedayria of Kordofan, and many others. And the 
percolation of these "Ga'ali" stocks into the south and west has 
given an excuse to the Hamag of Sennar to say that their ancestors 
were Ga'aliin who took to wife blacks from the Burun hills, and has 
resulted in allegations of close kinship between the Ga'aliin and the 
rulers of Tekali, Darfur, Wadai and Bornu. 

Thus, in the case of Wadai, according to local tradition, the 

1 See BA, cxxxn, e.g. 


Muhammadan Empire was founded by " 'Abd el Kerim ibn Yame" 
in 1020 a.h. (1611 a.d. 1 ) and 

Yame etait de la tribu des Djaliya's [Ga'aliin, that is], au Chendi, au 
nord de Khartoum, dans la vallee du Nil. Son ancetre etait Saleh ibn 
Abdullah ibn Abbas, aussi Yame et sa famille se disaient-ils Abassides, 
comme le font encore les indigenes de Chendi, dAbou Harras, d'Ourfa, 
de Neselmiya [Mesallamia ( ?)] et les habitants de la ville de Sennar. 
Avant de venir au Ouadai, Yame s'etait arrete assez longtemps au Darfour 2 . 

This 'Abd el Kerim was a contemporary of Sulayman Solong 
the first Muhammadan ruler of Darfiir, whose descendants have 
always claimed to be descended from the Beni 'Abbas through a 
certain "Idris Ga'al 3 ." The "Yame" or "Yame" who appears as 
father of 'Abd el Kerim is undoubtedly "Gama'i" — the singular of 
Gawama'a : Barth indeed says 4 : 

Woda, the son of Yame, belonging to the tribe of the Gemir, who at 
that time were settled in Shendy, and... had emigrated with his country- 
men into the regions which afterwards, in honour of him it is said, were 
comprised under the name of Waday... ; 

and here "Gemir" can hardly mean other than Gawama'a. 

When, in 1916, I visited Turra in Gebel Marra, the seat of the 
ancient Fur kingdom and the burial-place of its Sultans since the 
time of Sulayman Solong, I found established there a small colony 
of Gawama'a "fukara" who claimed descent from an ancestor Idris, 
who had been "brought by Sulayman Solong from the river seven 
generations ago for the sake of religion." They had ever since been 
guardians of the royal tombs and " Imams" of the local mosque. 

Ill Now as regards the Gawabra-Bedayri'a group, it is fair, I 
think, to say that the only denomination under which they can all be 
classed with any accuracy is that of Danagla, inhabitants, that is, 
of Dongola 5 ; and it is doubtful whether they were ever called Ga'aliin 
until el Samarkandi asserted that they were descended from el 'Abbas 
and linked them on that score with the Ga'aliin proper who lived 
further upstream. This is not to deny for a moment that there is an 
essential similarity of race between the two groups : it is quite obvious 
that such exists, and an average Dongolawi might pass for an 
average Ga'ali, or vice versa, at any time or place. Nor was el Samar- 

1 Helmolt (Hist. p. 584) gives his date as 1635-1655. 

2 Nachtigal, Voy. au Ouadai, p. 93. 

3 See, e.g. Helmolt, Hist. p. 585 ; and p. 92, above. 

* Vol. in, p. 528. He notes, however, " The derivation of this royal family from 
the 'Abbasiyin is altogether imaginary." 

5 All inhabitants of Dongola do not, however, care to be called Danagla. The 
Rikabfa, for instance, regarding themselves as Shurafa, resent the application of 
the name to themselves as suggesting they are merely Nubians. 


kandi likely to choose for identification two peoples whose traditions 
or physical characteristics must create a strong presumption against 
the accuracy of his diagnosis. El Samarkandi was by no means a 
fool ; and it is particularly noticeable that though he classes all alike 
as Ga'aliin he pictures at the same time the approximate degree of 
racial closeness or distance existing between the several groups by a 
genealogical parable of surprising acumen. 

While the real raison d'etre of the traditional identification lies in 
the fact that the Arab elements, which permeate in widely varying 
degrees both the Danagla and the Ga'aliin groups, and especially 
the families of the sheikhs as distinct from the rank and file, are sub- 
stantially the same at root, it is also true that the non-Arab substratum 
on the river from Dongola to Khartoum is to some extent homo- 
geneous and, though not directly admitted to the argument, lends to 
it a strength and colour that would otherwise be largely lacking 1 . 

IV In the first chapter some mention was made of the Barabra and 
Danagla and of the migratory activities which these Nubian stocks 
directed southwards in the years which followed the downfall of the 
Christian kingdom of Dongola about the beginning of the fourteenth 
century 2 . It was stated that many of them settled in southern 
Kordofan and that to this fact may be attributed the linguistic 
affinities between the population of the northern hills of Dar Nuba 
and the people of Dongola. These affinities 3 do not extend beyond 
the northernly group of hills, but can hardly be sufficiently explained 
by the mercantile proclivities of more recent generations of Barabra- 
Danagla 4 . 

Such of the peoples, sprung from the blend of the two elements, 
Nubian and Arab, as migrated farther afield to the south and west, 
for instance the Gawama'a and the Bedayria of Kordofan, have by 
now become inevitably differentiated from the northern riverain 
stock, since they have incorporated or become themselves merged 
in quite distinct negroid races. In this manner the Dubab have be- 
come to all intents and purposes Nuba like those of Gebel Daier, 
the Gawama'a are half Kungara of Darfur and the Ghodiat a 

1 The autochthonous element among the Danagla is admitted in D i, cxlix. 

2 See also introduction to Part IV as to the influx of Arab elements into Nubia 
about this time. 

3 Q.v. Lepsius, Nub. Gramm. p. lxxvii, and Pallme, p. 116. 

1 See Seligman, Journ. R. Anthr. Inst. Vol. xliii, 1913. As regards this modern 
settlement of Danagla in southern Kordofan the evidence is ample: see in particular 
Pallme, pp. 117, 160, 171. Seligman also bases his argument to some extent upon 
certain specific mentions of "Danagla" which I made in The Tribes of Northern 
and Central Kordofan, and he might have made more of this line if he had noticed 
that various tribes such as Doalfb, Bedayria and Gawabra, whom I specified as 
being settled in large numbers in Kordofan, are all properly Danagla. 



mixture of Fung, Hamag, Nuba and Arab. All, however, regard 
themselves as, in a certain sense, Ga'aliIn. 

But the name of Ga'aliin as used at present in common parlance 
is more often limited to the large group which contains the Sa'adab, 
Nifi'ab, Kitiab and other sections — the group alluded to in this 
chapter as the Ga'aliin proper — and though its exact scope varies 
the wider use of the term is uncommon and practically confined to 
genealogical discussion. 

V Let us then deal in order, firstly with the tribes which, though 
claiming a Ga'ali origin, have for many generations been plainly dis- 
tinguishable from the Ga'aliin proper as well as from the other tribes 
held popularly and vaguely to belong to the same group as them- 
selves, and secondly with the Ga'aliin proper. 

From the manuscripts it would appear that the following are the 
better known tribes and subtribes traditionally reckoned Ga'aliin 
in the widest sense of the term 1 : 

f Bedayri'a 

i. I Shuwayhat 

[ Terayfia 



MAgidiA, or MAi'dia) 









MekAbda 2 










3- < 

f GhodiAt 
\ BatAhin 










1 1 











Muhammad ab 



1 Many of the less known or more doubtful sections are omitted. Their names 
and some details concerning them can be found in the texts or genealogical trees 
of the MSS. of the "A" group; and, in many cases, in the account of the Ga'aliin 
which follows. The brackets linking various tribes in the list here given denote a 
measure of connection according to the "nisbas." 

2 See sub Ghodiat. 

in. i. vi. THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP 201 


VI The Bedayria are at present more or less evenly divided between 
riverain Nubia and Kordofan, while a few live further west in Darfiir; 
but the true home of the race lies between the Gawabra and the 
Shaikia territories in Dongola province. 

In the eighteenth century, and for an unknown period previous 
to it, the chief "mek" lived at Old Dongola, and subject "meks" at 
el Khandak, Tankasi Island, Abkiir and Dufar 1 , and at the present 
day it is still probably true to say that of the semi-Arab semi- 
Nubian Danagla more are Bedayria than not 2 . 

Their chief branch is the Dahmashia 3 . 

At some early period, probably the beginning of the fourteenth 
century, a number of Bedayria and Shuwayhat 4 found their way to 
Kordofan, carried thither, it seems, by a general wave of "Ga'ali" 
movement to the south-west consequent upon the Arab subjugation 
of Dongola 5 , and settled round the present site of el Obeid and 
took to cattle-breeding and cultivation. 

Of the history of the Bedayria either in Dongola or Kordofan 
we know but little. In the former province during the period of 
Shaikia ascendancy the Bedayria were subject to their more war- 
like congeners 6 , and the oppression they suffered induced many to 

1 Cp. Nicholls, pp. 7, 8. 

2 Sir C. Wilson spoke of them in 1887 as a Nuba [i.e. Nubian] people with an 
admixture of Arab blood still speaking a "rotana" among themselves. 

3 For its subdivisions see Tree to " AB." One of them, it may be noted, is the 
'Aidab, a name which we shall again meet with among the Shaikia. It would seem 
that some of the descendants of 'Aid are with one tribe and some with the other, 
while others again are attached to the Kababish. To what tribe 'Aid himself belonged 
is uncertain, but perhaps he is the 'Aid father of Ghulamulla (q.v. genealogical tree 
to D 1), in which case his alleged Sherifi descent would explain his popularity as 
an ancestor. There is a tribe called 'Aid near Balbays in the Sharkia Province of 
Egypt who are said to be Kahtanites descended from Guzam (Gudham), and it is 
not impossible that some connection may be traceable between these and the 
'Aidab of the Sudan. Compare the cases of the Rashaida (Rowashda), Ziud, 
Muzayna, Kerrarish (Kerarsha), and Gubarat. For the 'Aid see Na'Qm Bey, Hist. 
Sinai, pp. 108-9. 

4 Or perhaps the Shuwayhat were only a branch of Bedayria. I have assumed 
the contrary because the MSS. make Shuwayh the brother and not the son of 

5 A well and hill named Bir Serrar, lying a day's journey north of Bara, are 
named after Serrar the son of Kerdam who is said to have brought his family to 
Kordofan and settled there. Serrar is ancestor not only of the Bedayria but of 
almost the whole "Ga'ali" group. His date was about the end of the thirteenth 
century (see Introd. to Part IV). 

6 Burckhardt, Nubia, p. 68. "Between the city of Dongola and Merawe is the 
Wady of the Arabs called Bedayr, whose chiefs have, till lately, been tributary to 
the Sheygya." 


emigrate to the south-west and join their kin in Kordofan or push 
further west into Darfur 1 . 

About the middle of the eighteenth century a certain Balul, one 
of the chieftains of the Bedayria in Kordofan, moved northwards 
from Abu Haraz, conquered Kaga Surriig on the Darfur border, and 
made his headquarters Gebel Bishara Taib or "Kab Balul." He 
was, however, ousted thence by the invading Musaba'at from Darfur 
and was compelled to take refuge with the remnants of his folk at 
Kaga Soderi and Katul. Here the Bedayria gradually became merged 
in the older population. 

VII The Bedayria in Kordofan now divide themselves into two 
main groups and a number of subdivisions, as follows: 

A. Dahmashia f i. Awlad Hilayb 

2. Zenara 2 

3. Ayadga 

4. Awlad Muhammad 

5. Shuwayhat 

6. Ri'ash 3 

7. Kaduma 

8. Awlad 'Ali 

9. Awlad Shihada 

10. Awlad Hilal 

11. Husaynat 4 

B. Awlad Na'amia f 1. Awlad Hamdulla 

2. Awlad Mati'ya 5 

3. Awlad Melki 

4. 'Aynani'a 

5. Awlad Musa 

VIII In addition to the Bedayria who preserve their name as such 
in Dongola, Kordofan and elsewhere, there are others for whom a 
Bedayri ancestry is commonly alleged. The most numerous of these 
are the Asirra who form a large section of the Hawazma, and who 
are also represented in Darfur and Wadai 6 . 

IX The Bedayria of Dongola are of course entirely sedentary. 

1 For instance, at el Hashaba in the Zaghawa country (N. Ddrfur) there is a 
small colony of the Rfash branch, settled in villages. 

2 Originally Berbers. The Zenara were a section of Luata. See p. 152, above. 
Other Zenara are among the Hawazma (q.v. later). 

3 It will be seen from the trees that Abu el Rish ("Father of the Feather"), 
their ancestor, is traditionally a brother of Bedayr and Shuwayh. 

4 Bedayria by marriage only, i.e. their ancestress was a Bedayria. 

6 The name is mentioned ("Mateye") by Burckhardt as being that of one of 
the tribes of Kordofan. 

6 See Carbou, II, 91 ; and Nachtigal, Voy. au Ouada'i, p. 71. The site of el Fasher 
itself is said to have anciently belonged to the Asirra. 


Those in Kordofan have intermarried so freely with their neighbours, 
the partly cognate Gawama'a and the Hawazma, and above all with 
the Nuba, that they have little racial individuality remaining to them. 
They resemble the Nuba far more than the Dongolawi, and it is from 
the former that the jeunesse doree of the Bedayria have adopted the 
fashion of wearing their hair in several thick sausage-like rolls laid 
longwise back from the forehead and falling at the back nearly to the 
shoulders 1 . 

They have many villages near to the south and west of el Obeid 
and these again have sent out numerous scattered colonies into 
northern and western Kordofan. In the rains the cattle-owning 
Bedayria, those to the south and east that is, lead a nomadic existence 
in company with the Hawazma Bakkara. 

X The Terayfia are close connections and neighbours of the 
Nubian Bedayria. Korti and Ambukol were their ancient centres 
and a number remain thereabouts at the present day. Many Terayfia 
however have migrated elsewhere, and the majority of these are 
settled in Kordofan. They probably accompanied the earliest Be- 
dayria emigrants, but instead of remaining with them they took up 
their abode with the Gawama'a group and at the present day form 
one of its larger subdivisions and have become assimilated to the 
semi-negroid type 2 . The Terayfia who were driven from Dongola 
at a later date, victims of Shaikia aggressiveness in the eighteenth 
century, mostly went to Darfur and took to trading at Kobbe and 
el Fasher, etc. They are still represented among the " Gelldba 3 " 
Danagla at el Fasher. Others settled at Kerri near the Shabluka 
cataract 4 . 


XI The Ghodiat 5 live south of el Obeid on the very fringe of the 
Nuba country, and the connection between them and the rest of the 
so-called Ga'aliin group, though apparent from all the Ga'ali 
"nisbas" is somewhat theoretical. 

In tradition they are very closely connected with the ancient 
tribes of the Kunan and the KusAs who are now extinct in the Sudan. 
The former are said to have lived at Rera in Kassala Province and to 
have been extirpated by the Shukria. 

1 The Hawazma have adopted the same custom but not to quite the same extent. 

2 For the subdivisions of the Gawama'a-Terayfia see sub Gawama'a. 

3 " Gelldba" are small traders, generally pedlars. 

4 Nicholls, p. 19. 

5 Sing. "Ghadawi." The MSS. almost universally spell "Kodiat" and "Ka- 
dawi," but the confusion between Jj and c is so common that no reliance can be 
placed on the correctness of that spelling.^- 

204 THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP in. i. xi. 

The only record of the KusAs is, I think, in a passage of Burck- 
hardt. Speaking of the Howara of Upper Egypt in Mamliik days he 
says 1 : 

On the south, the tribe of Kaszas (^Las) [i.e. KusAs] who people 
the country on the west banks from Thebes to near Esne, and to whom 
belong the inhabitants of Gourne, Orment, and Reheygat (all celebrated 
for their bold plundering enterprises) were their determined enemies; 
although both these and the Howara report that they have the same origin 
from Barbary. 

Both tribes have left their names in some of the small hills east 
of the Blue Nile near Abu Delayk. With the Ghodiat, Kunan and 
KusAs the "tiisbas" commonly include the BatAhin 2 whose ancient 
home was among these same hills. 

XII On the other hand the Ghodiat are universally allowed to be 
largely Fung 3 by race. 

They are also obviously as much negroid as Arab. The inference 
then to be drawn would seem to be that certain members of the group 
which also formed the substratum of the "Ga'aliin" tribes of the 
present settled at some early period in the vicinity of Abu Delayk ; 
and that certain of them took an active part in the Arab-Fung move- 
ment at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and in connection 
with that movement penetrated westwards into Kordofan and settled 
there among the Nuba and intermarried with them. Or, as an alter- 
native, it is possible that the Ghodiat may have formed a part of the 
racial wave that flowed into Kordofan from Dongola two centuries 
before the foundation of Sennar and have subsequently acquired the 
Fung connection in Kordofan itself. 

XIII Their traditions relate that they took up their abode at first 
near Gebel Kurbag and Melbis and after a time drove the Nuba 
from their stronghold on Gebel Kordofan and usurped their position. 

The Bedayri'a-Gawama'a group are said to have submitted to 
their overlordship 4 . The story as Pallme heard it in 1838 is as follows : 

The aborigines are negroes from Nubia, who, even at the present time, 
inhabit many parts of Kordofan. The word Kordofan itself is of Nubian 
derivation. Three tribes subsequently immigrated : the Hadejat, el Giomme, 
and Bederie 5 . The period of this immigration, however, cannot be definitely 
determined. These three nomadic tribes distributed themselves over the 
country round about Mount Kordofan, occupied themselves with cattle- 
breeding, and each tribe had its sheikh, or magistrate; but from these 

1 Nubia, p. 532. 2 Cp. the genealogical trees of the "A" group. 

3 D 1 , ccix says Hamag instead of Fung. 

4 So tradition. Cp. Pallme, pp. 11-12, Prout and Petherick. 

5 The names appear so in the original German also. The tribes meant are the 
Ghodiat, the Gawama'a and the Bedayria. 

in. i. xiii. THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP 205 

three tribes, collectively, a head was chosen, who acted as impartial judge 
in all questions of difficulty, and, in fact, as the last authority. 

About the middle of the seventeenth century 1 the Fung, having 
consolidated their power in the Gezi'ra, proceeded to make raids over 
the White Nile in the direction of Gebels Tekali and Daier. In the 
following century they became paramount in those regions and an- 
nexed them to Sennar, but according to their usual policy they left 
in power the chiefs of the conquered districts, and thus the chief of 
the Ghodiat confederacy between el Obeid and Daier was given the 
title of " Mdngil" and was expected to pay a yearly tribute of cattle 
and iron hoes 2 . 

No doubt a number of Fung settled during the two centuries 
mentioned in the newly acquired province, and while it is possible 
that it is due merely to this that the Ghodiat are commonly considered 
as half Fung, it is far more probable that the connection was more 
ancient and dates from one or other of those periods of unrest and 
expansion, the beginning of the fourteenth century and the beginning 
of the sixteenth century. 

The Fung control in south-central Kordofan was a very fluctu- 
ating quantity. It reached its zenith between 1748 and 1758 with the 
defeat of the Musaba'at of Darfur, and ended in 1788. The period 
in which the Ghodiat were most powerful was between 1755 and 
1768 3 , a fact which confirms the tradition that they were the special 
proteges and allies of the Fung and dependent upon them for the 
maintenance of their position 4 . In 1768 central Kordofan, Kordofan 
proper that is 5 , passed to the Musaba'at, but there was apparently 
no particular animosity between these and the Ghodiat, and the 
latter were left in possession of their lands south of the capital 6 , and 

1 See D 7, xxix. 

2 Called "Hashhash Um Henana." That these hoe-heads came to be used not 
merely as a useful medium of exchange but solely as coins I have argued in Tribes 
of Northern and Central Kordofan (p. 67). See also Ruppell, p. 139. This traveller, 
speaking of the years 1824-5 says: "In Obeid bedient man sich bei kleinen Aus- 
lagen einer eigenthumlichen Miinze; es sind kleine, drei Zoll grosse Stiicke Eisen 
in Gestalt von "T ; die vorige und jetzige Regierung setzte solche in Circulation. 
Man nennt diese Eisenstvicke Haschasch." They were also used in Darfur: see 
el Tunisi, Voy. au Darfour, p. 320. For "Mdngil" see p. 246. 

3 See D 1, ccix. 

* It is said el Obeid was built during the Ghodiat period of ascendancy, but 
this is not certain. 

5 To the present day the hillmen of Kaga and el Haraza and the nomads in 
the north (Kababish, etc.), and also the Hamar of "Western Kordofan," speak of 
"going to Kordofan," meaning to the cultivable sandy districts now comprised in 
el Obeid, Bara, Um Dam and Um Ruaba districts. The extension of the name to 
the north and west (and for some years to the Nuba hills in the south) was a purely 
arbitrary administrative act. 

6 For the above see also MacMichael, Tribes..., pp. 9-13, 62, 67, 68. 


live there in their villages to the present time among a medley of 
equally debased Bedayria, Musaba'at, Birked 1 , Tom am, Tumbab 
and Dubab. 
XIV Among the subdivisions of the Ghodiat are the following : 

Nafar el Marad 
,, 'Omar 
„ Safei' 
„ Sa'id 
| „ Abu Khadra 




Mekabda (properly Bedayria) 


^ Salamat (an offshoot of the Bakkara Salamat) 

The Mekabda, it is worth noting, appear in the "nisbas" as a 
Ga'ali tribe closely cognate to the Manasra. Those who are among 
the Ghodiat are regarded locally as Bedayria affiliated for several 
generations to the Ghodiat. 

(c) THE BATAHfN 2 

XV The Batahin of the present day are a nomadic tribe with head- 
quarters at Abu Delayk, halfway between Khartoum and the Atbara, 
and to a less degree at 'Alwan. The more southernly members of the 
tribe, but for a few scattered individuals settled near Wad Medani 
and el Manakil, are certain of the 'Abadla section in Rufa'a district, 
and the most northernly the Butugab, who have lately split away 
from the main tribe and live in Khartoum North district. 

Eastwards they do not extend beyond the boundaries of the Blue 
Nile Province, except in the season of the rains when they roam the 
common grazing ground of the Butana, and westwards their rights 
end fifteen miles or more from the river. 

XVI Until about half a century ago the majority of the tribe, less 
powerful then than now and living round 'Alwan, were dependent 
for water upon the "hafirs" until these dried up in the early spring, 
and then upon the river. But for a long time there had been also a 
few of them at Abu Delayk, and it seems that these were popularly 
regarded as having ancient rights in that vicinity, if not as aboriginals 3 . 

However the Shukria under the great Abu Sin family had made 
themselves supreme in Fung days between the Blue Nile and the 
Atbara and maintained their supremacy throughout the Turkish 
period. The Batahin were a negligible factor under these conditions; 
and, in addition, the Delaykab 4 , descendants of a certain Kahli " feki" 

1 Q.v. Part I, Chap. 4. 2 Sing. Bat-hani. 

3 Cp. D 3, No. 74. It is said they owned one well there. Burckhardt (p. 345) 
mentions Batahin among the Arabs of Shendi district in 1814, and no doubt he 
refers to the families whose headquarters were at Abu Delayk. 

* Q.v. in Chap. 5 (a) of this Part. 


surnamed Abu Delayk, had obtained a hold on the particular site 
now known by his name and a large part of the Wadi Hawad. Some 
years before the Mahdia Sheikh 'Abd el Baki 'Abd el Kadir, the 
grandfather of the present "'omda" of the Batahin, succeeded in 
opening wells at 'Alwan, Tomama, Um Sidayra and Kadfim and 
thereby the unity and prosperity of the tribe were considerably 
advanced 1 . 

At Abu Delayk there must have been wells from very early times, 
for water is procurable in the "wddi" so near the surface that a 
"sdkia" can be used, but it was only as a result of the upheavals 
and vicissitudes of the Mahdia that the Bat ah in found themselves 
sufficiently strong to assert their ancient claims in the face of the 
Shukria and Delaykab and to make Abu Delayk their tribal head- 
quarters, open numerous wells there, and cultivate most of the sur- 
rounding " zvddis 2 ." 

XVII In the Dervish days many of the Batahin were sent north by 
the Khalifa to Dongola and Berber and perished there. Those remain- 
ing near Abu Delayk fell into his displeasure, and it is still remembered 
how he put sixty-seven of them to death with the utmost brutality in 
one day at Omdurman 3 . 

They now own fairly large herds of camels, cattle, sheep and goats, 
and cultivate a rain crop in the numerous shallow "wddis" of their 
''ddr." They are typical nomads in physical appearance 4 , lithe, 
sallow-red in complexion, furtive-eyed, and in character impatient 
of control, quarrelsome like the Shaiki'a, humorous, and more daring 
than the usual. They are also incorrigible and unblushing thieves; 
yet their thefts are not of the mean house-breaking order, but 
a survival from the happy inter-tribal looting days 5 . They profess 

1 Mrs Petherick {Centr. Africa, II, 84) speaks of "some five hundred brood of 
camels with their young" seen by her in March, 1862, watering on the east bank 
of the White Nile near Gebel Aulia and belonging to the " Batacheen." 

2 The " 'Omda" has lately founded a village of mud houses close to the wells, 
an entirely new departure for the Batahin. The most permanent type of house in 
use among those who were not entirely nomadic had previously been a tukl of 
straw of which the wall was plastered with " zibl" (dung) and lime. The mixture 
adheres to the corn-stalks and the wooden uprights alike, and windows are cut 
through it. This type of building is not found west of the Nile. Inside their huts 
the Batahin have one or two large "suaybas," cylindrical jars for storing grain, 
about three and a half feet in height. Their jars ("bata' ") are made from a compound 
of " seidl" gum (" kaddb") and leather and rags. The black colour is obtained by 
mashing and burning corn and forming it into a paste which is used in manu- 
facturing the "bata'." The black conglomerate is about an eighth of an inch thick 
and overlies a groundwork of rag. 

3 Slatin, Ch. XIII. 

4 I except, of course, those in whom slave-blood is obvious. 

6 Within the memory of the present generation a Bathani youth could not hope 
to gain a bride until he had proved his prowess by stealing a camel. This reminds 

2o8 THE GA'ALlf N AND DANAGLA GROUP m. i. xvn. 

to be Ga'aliin by origin, a claim which is commonly denied them 
with a laugh and a sneer by the Shukria, Mesallamia and other 
tribes who live nearest to them and consequently have cause to throw 
the broadest aspersions upon their ancestry. As a matter of fact it 
would seem from the "nisbas" that they are one of the oldest off- 
shoots of that early group of Arab immigrants to whose descendants 
the name Ga'aliin is applied. They are certainly less noticeably con- 
taminated with negro blood than any other Ga'aliin, and in all 
probability represent more closely the original stock. 

Their own traditions relate in effect that their name is derived 
from that of the Batah (Lowlander-KuRAYSH) who inhabited the 
neighbourhood of Mekka in the Prophet's day 1 , but a variant put 
forward by the cynical is that their ancestor was found abandoned 
("mabtuh") in some "toddi" ("bat-ha"). 
XVIII The subdivisions of the Batahin are as follows : 


' I . Sahbab 

















3. 'Arkashab 3 j(a) 




Um 'fsA 

4. 'Alamab 





Shulukhab 4 

5. Difaylab 








Ba'abish (sing. Ba'abushawi) 

6. 'Asafab 6 i 






one of Burton's Beduin of the Hegaz among whom the name " hardmi" ("thief") 
was still honourable, and of the saying once quoted of the Crow Indians "Trust to 
their honour and you are safe, to their honesty and they will steal the hair off your 
head" (Burton, Pilgrimage, 11, 101, 112). 

1 See note to A 11, xn. The father of the '"omda" of the Batahin assured me 
that their ancestors formed a part of the army of Khalid ibn Walid, the Prophet's 
lieutenant, which invaded the eastern Sudan and converted the 'Anag ! 

2 They connect the word with^cLxj "to covet [s.c. the goods of others]," 

i.e. "to loot." 

3 The root { Ji£sj.&, they say, means " to sprout thick and fast," i.e. " to thrive." 

4 From ~JUi, i.e. incisions in the cheek. 

6 I.e. "descendants of el Nur." There is no connection apparently between 
these and the Nurab sections of Kababish or Shukria. 

6 These have attached themselves to the Shukria, and are commonly reckoned 
a part of that tribe. 


B. Butugab 1 fi. HuwAb 

2. Harayrab 

3. Shabala 

4. ZAkiab 

5. Deraysab 

6. Atamra 2 

7. Shuaynab (living among the 'Ashama) 


\2. Others 


AND DUBAB, etc. 

XIX The country appropriated to the three riverain tribes of 
Rubatab, Manasir and Mirafab lies roughly between the fourth 
cataract and the junction of the Atbara with the Nile, that is between 
the Shaikia and the Ga'aliin proper, on either side of the great 
loop in the river- 

The Manasir 4 , having their headquarters at Berti on the boundary 
between Berber and Dongola Provinces, are neighbours of the 
Shaikia, and Burckhardt spoke of them as practically a subtribe of 
the latter, though "not strictly belonging to" them 5 . 

Some two hundred years ago or less a large colony of Manasir 
and Fadliin left the Nile and migrated westwards to Darfiir. There 
they settled round Sani Karro, Tulu and Gebel el Hella and called 
themselves Manasra and Beni Fadl respectively 6 . Subsequently, 
when the Hamar moved eastwards from Um Shanga and opened up 
western Kordofan by hollowing the baobabs for water-storage, certain 
of these Manasra and Beni Fadl joined them. More came in the 
Turkish days; but the largest movement of all took place about 1904 
when, tired of the oppression to which they were subjected by the 
Sultan of Darfiir, more than half of both tribes left Darfiir and settled 
in Dar Hamar, the Manasra chiefly round el Odaya and the Beni 

1 p^Zj (" butuga") is said to meanjj^, i.e. "to be plentiful." 

2 From the rootj.^ ("dates"). 

3 Derived from " Abdulla," a curious plural. Many of the 'Abadla are 

4 The name is simply a plural formed from "Manstir." Those on the river, 
in Berber district, comprise the following small sections : — Sulaymanfa, Salamat, 
Berti, Sherreri and Shirri. Inland are a few Kagubab, Khubara and others. They 
number some 600 men in all. 

5 Nubia, p. 69. Sir C. Wilson in 1887 estimates them at about 2500 men, 
and reports that they claim kinship with the Ababda. 

6 They say they were in a rough proportion of two of the latter to one of the 

M.s.l. 14 

2io THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP in. 1. xix. 

Fadl in Zernakh and Kebsh and Um Bel districts 1 . Since then these 
have been joined yearly by others of their kin until at the present 
day there are few of them left in Darfur. 

XX The subdivisions of the Beni Fadl of Kordofan are : 

Hadarma 2 Geraywat 'UkbAb 3 

homran muhammadia debaghna 


Those of the Manasra are as follows : 


[(b) Abu 'Amir 
Hammadia ((a) Abu SinAbo 

[(b) Abu Himayyir 
GimaylIa ((a) Shabul 4 

[(b) Um Sowar 
Merashish j(a) Um 'Azoza 

[(b) Gebarin 

XXI The Rubatab are upstream of the Manasir as far as the fifth 
cataract and their country corresponds roughly to the Inspectorate 
of Abu Hammad 5 . The 'Awadia section, which appears in the "nis- 
bas" under the heading of Rubatab is, from all but the genealogical 
point of view, quite distinct 6 . They are largely nomadic 7 , and graze 
over Berber Province with various subtribes of the Ga'aliIn proper. 
The closeness of the connection between the Rubatab and the 

1 Numbers of both are also scattered elsewhere, e.g. near to the S.E. of 
el Nahud. 

2 These deny any connection with the Hadarma or Hadarba or Hadareb of 
the Red Sea coast, but the connection may none the less exist. 

3 These claim to be the same as the Ya'akubab of Sennar, whom we shall meet 
as a branch of Shafkfa. The root of both words is of course the same, but whether 
the Ya'akubab are more properly Beni Fadl or Shaikla I cannot say. There are 
said to be now no other Beni Fadl on the river. 

4 This name also occurs as that of a section of Habbania and of a brand used 
by the Hamar Gharaysfa. 

6 An interesting account of the "Customs of the Rubatab" will be found in 
No. 2 of Sudan Notes and Records (1918) from the pen of Mrs J. W. Crowfoot. 
These include remarks on their "General Traits," their "Cult of Holy men" and 
their "Customs and Ceremonies" (Marriage Preliminaries, Weddings, Duties of 
a man and his Parents-in-law, Naming of the child and shaving of the head, etc., 
Tribal Marks, Circumcision and Funerals). The account given was supplied by 
a Rubatabi sheikh, but, as is pointed out, it would apply almost equally to most 
of the tribes on Nile banks in Khartoum, Berber or Dongola Provinces, and conse- 
quently to many other districts whither these have emigrated. 

6 Lepsius (Discoveries..., p. 238) speaks of them ('"Auadieh") as "far more 
considerable than the Ababde." For their subsections see sheet 3 of genealogical 
tree illustrating MS. "ABC." 

7 Their camel-brand is a well-known one: it consists of a " Kildda" and an 
" 'amud" on the right side of the neck, the latter being above and at right angles 
to the former. 


Ga'aliin proper is symbolized in the "nisbas" by the statement that 
the mother of Ghanim, ancestor of the latter, was a daughter of 
Rubat 1 . 

XXII Now, curiously enough, though the "nisbas" do not link the 
Rubatab and the Manasi'r as closely together as one might expect, 
the latter and the Dubab appear as descended from brothers in spite 
of the fact that all of the Dubab live in the immediate vicinity of 
Gebel Daier in southern Kordofan and belong to the same Nuba 
type, slightly arabicized, which is found among all the northern hills 
of Dar Nuba. 

For the fact that the Sakarang 2 or kings of Tekali and the royal 
families of Darfur and Wadai 3 are credited with a Ga'ali ancestry 
rank sycophancy is partly responsible, but it can hardly have caused 
the inclusion as Ga'aliin of the Dubab or the equally negroid Tomam 
and Tumbab who are neighbours of the latter. The appearance of 
these in the "nisbas" is in fact additional evidence of that early 
movement from the river of Nubian Arabs, of the type generally 
included under the vague genealogical term "Ga'aliin," into the 
parts of Kordofan immediately north of the Nuba hills, and the fusion 
of these with the Nuba and others which has produced the present 
day tribes of Kordofan — Bedayria, Gawama'a, etc., and accounts 
for the linguistic similarities between the Barabra and the Nuba. 

XXIII The Mirafab were the original owners of Berber. Burck- 
hardt says of them 4 : "A free born Meyrefab never marries a slave, 
whether Abyssinian or black, but always an Arab girl of his own or 
some neighbouring tribe."..." They are careful in maintaining the 
purity of their race." He describes them as a tall strong people of 
dark red-brown complexion, with oval face, straight nose, and dis- 
tinctively Arab rather than Negroid in appearance. Of their charac- 
ters he formed the lowest opinion : 

Cheating, thieving, and the blackest ingratitude, are found in almost 
every man's character.... In the pursuit of gain they know no bounds, for- 
getting every divine and human law.... I have never met with so bad a 
people, excepting perhaps those of Suakin. 

None the less they were "of a very merry facetious temper, con- 

1 See, e.g., BA, clvi. Note, too, that "A 8" is counted a "Ga'ali" pedigree 
and its subject a Ga'ali, though the occurrence of Rubat among his ancestors shews 
he belongs strictly to the Rubatab. A similar line of argument applied to "As" 
denotes that the Mekabda are commonly counted Ga'aliin. 

2 This termination -ang is common in Dongolawi place-names. 

3 See pp. 92 and 196, and cp. genealogical trees of the "A" group. 

4 Nubia, pp. 210, 211, 216, 217, 221, 224, 230. "The people Myrifab" and 
the " Rabotab " (Rubatab), 'Aliab, and " Macabrab " (Mukabirab) are all mentioned, 
before Burckhardt's time, on Bruce's map. 

14 — 2 

212 THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP m. 1. xxm. 

tinually joking, laughing, and singing." They were " partly shepherds, 
and partly cultivators." 

They had a "Mek " of their own, nominated by the Fung of Sennar, 
and were said to be able to put iooo freemen and 500 slaves into the 

Sir C. Wilson reported that they were "sometimes classed as 
Ja'alin, but the Ja'alin repudiate them... it seems a question whether 
they are not of Bija origin 1 ." 


XXIV The Hakimab, who are commonly grouped in the "nisbas" 
with the Gawabra, are a small tribe who are nevertheless regarded 
as much more distinctively Ga'aliin, in the limited sense of the 
term, than the Gawabra 2 . 

Their hereditary "meks" ruled Arko Island and for long were 
the paramount princes of the surrounding country 3 . 

The germ from which the Hakimab are sprung was probably an 
immigrant Arab family who obtained the overlordship of the older 
inhabitants in like manner as did the Rab^'a in the east and the 
Awlad Kanz round Aswan 4 . 


XXV The Gawabra are the most northernly riverain tribe in the 
Sudan to whom the name Arab can be applied with any real legitimacy. 

Their headquarters are at Badin Island, near the frontier between 
Dongola Province and Mahass district, and they extend from the 
cataracts of Hannak to Tayti, including in their territories the islands 
of Arko and Makassir 6 . 

Burckhardt relates that 7 "after the promulgation of the Moham- 
medan creed " — presumably the allusion is to the thirteenth or four- 
teenth century — the Gawabra and the Gharbia, a branch of the 
Zen ata Berbers, took possession of the country between the first and 
second cataracts and in time obtained some measure of ascendancy 
over the Kanuz and other tribes who had preceded them. 

In the reign of Selim I, very soon, that is, after the foundation in 
the south of the Fung kingdom, the Gharbia, having fallen out with 
the Gawabra and suffered heavily, sent an embassy to the Sultan 
and obtained from him a force of Bosnian auxiliaries. These ejected 

1 Q.v. p. 19. A small section still lives with the group of Bisharifn who inhabit 
Berber Province. 

2 E.g. the MS. A 1 is counted a "Ga'ali" pedigree and its subject a Ga'ali: 
the occurrence of H^kim as his ancestor shews that he belongs to the Hakimab. 

3 Nicholls, p. 7. 4 See pp. 149 and 150. 

5 Sing. " Gabri," i.e. "descendant of Gabir." 

6 Nicholls, p. 6. 7 Nubia, pp. 133, 134. 

in. i. xxvi. THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP 213 

the Gawabra from northern Nubia into what is now Dongola Pro- 
vince, "and to this day the most wealthy inhabitants of Dongola 
derive their origin from the tribe of Djowabere 1 ." " Some families 
of the Djowabere," however, Burckhardt adds, "remained peace- 
fully behind, and their descendants who are found chiefly at Derr 
and Wady Haifa, are still known by the name of their ancestors." 

At the present day Gawabra may be found in all the larger towns 
of the Sudan engaged in trade. There is also a colony of them in 
Bara district (central Kordofan) who for many generations have 
cultivated with "sdkia" and " shdduf" the rich basin of Khor el 


XXVI The traditional relationship of the Shaikia to the Ga'aliin 
is symbolized by the statement that Shaik was the brother of the 
Ghanim from whom the Ga'aliin proper are all descended 2 ; but 
unless appearances are vastly deceptive there has, in the case of the 
Shaikia, been engrafted upon the older stock common to themselves 
and the Ga'aliin a quite distinct foreign element. The Shaiki stands 
apart from every other tribe in the Sudan in being more adventurous, 
more quarrelsome, and, in particular, more ready to take service as 
a mercenary fighter under any employer 3 . The typical Shaiki is 
sallow complexioned, gaunt and alert, a hard drinker, fond of the 
dice, and a born liar. In appearance he is often hard to distinguish 
from a Turk " muwallad" {i.e. born in the Sudan, or half-bred) 4 . 

Werne, who was an acute observer, and describes the Shaikia 
well, advances a bold hypothesis. The following are his words 5 : 

One can at first glance tell a Schaigie, and still one cannot easily tell 
how they are so completely distinct from the other Arabs. Their faces are 
good, and generally marked and thin; the higher among them... are dis- 
tinguished by extremely fine features; foreheads rather lofty; eyes lively 
and sharp cut; nose arched, and pointed at the end (in this they are prin- 
cipally distinguished from the smaller-featured Barabra); lips common; 
beard thin; colour of skin brown, or brown-black; slight of form, but 
well built, and therefore, with great ease, they perform all kinds of bodily 
exercises.... All are very fond of liquors. Although, from their face and 
features, they seem to more nearly approach the Arabs than the Nubians, 

1 Burckhardt, loc. cit. 2 See, e.g., trees to MSS. BA and An. 

3 Gordon (quoted by Sir C. Wilson, p. 15) said he would "back them to try 
a man's patience more sorely than any other people in the wide world, yea, and 
in the universe." 

4 His resemblance to the Dongolawi is also marked, but this may be due to no 
more than the Shaikia occupation of Dongola Province to which reference will be 
made later. The Shaikia have never spoken a Nubian dialect ("rotana") as the 
Danagla have. Cp. Schweinfurth, 11, 194, on this point. 

5 Werne, pp. 203, 204. 

214 THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP in. 1. xxvi. 

still they unanimously, and with something like scorn, assert that they are 
no Arabs, and have no descent from such a race 1 . But whence they come, 
or to what race they are allied, as they themselves equally deny a Nubian 
descent, their small kings, who have their pedigrees at their fingers, could 
not, or would not, tell us, much as we tried to get out of them their 
genealogy. They firmly maintain that they have been, from most distant 
times, the children of the soil, and have ever been the warriors of their 
race. One must not put any confidence, as other travellers have done, in 
what they have learnt from their priests, who are said to assert the contrary ; 
though we have not heard it from them, for most of these... are of Arab 
families.... Such pious fathers also fancy, although they may be of a totally 
different origin, that they are able, by means of Arabian descent, to claim 
a kind of relationship with the Prophet. Here starts up the interesting 
historical question, are these Schaigies, who perhaps really do owe their 
present name to some Arabian saint, a part of the emigrated warrior caste 
of Egypt, or the descendants of those discontented warriors who were 
hospitably received by the kings of Ethiopia ? Their country, their prox- 
imity to old Meroe, which they perhaps protected against the barbarous 
south, and their own warlike spirit, agree with this tradition; as does also 
the fact, that amongst them has never existed any common superior chief, 
but all have ever lived free under their moluks ; the present ruling families 
are perhaps the old Egyptian leader-race, who, holding the Ethiopian 
kings as their only lords, became, on the overthrow of that kingdom, inde- 
pendent princes, as the Macedonian generals did on the death of Alexander 
the Great. Their hair too is thinned, or kept cut short to the head, as 
cleanliness, so necessary in Egypt, may have demanded ; and such a custom 
is contrary to Arab habits, and those of Nubia and Barabra also, although 
they have, in common with those races, incisions on the cheeks as marks 
of caste; among the Schaigies these are horizontal 2 . 

1 The same is not true of the present day. 

2 The facial markings (" shulukh") of the Shaikia at once connect them with 
and dissociate them from the Ga'alifn. The term " mushellakh Ga'ali" ("marked 
with the 'shulukh' of the Ga'alifn") denotes the use of three parallel vertical 
slashes on both cheeks. "Mushellakh Shdiki" denotes the use of three parallel 
horizontal slashes on both cheeks. These two face-brands — (and perhaps the H 
used by the Sultan of Darfur to mark his slaves) — are the only ones which are 
universally known throughout the Sudan, though both the Ga'ali and the Shafki 
brands are not entirely confined to members of those tribes. 

The origin of this custom of slashing the face is obscure. Burton (Pilgrimage..., 
II, 233, 234), describing the people of Mecca, says: " In most families male children, 
when forty days old, are taken to the Ka'abah, prayed over, and carried home, 
where the barber draws with a razor three parallel gashes down the fleshy portion 
of each cheek, from the exterior angles of the eyes almost to the corners of the 
mouth. These Mashali, as they are called, may be of modern date: the citizens 
declare that the custom was unknown to their ancestors. I am tempted to assign 
to it a high antiquity, and cannot but attribute a pagan origin to a custom still 
prevailing, despite all the interdictions of the Olema." 

In a note on the above Burton adds: "The act is called 'tashrit,' or gashing — 
The citizens told me that the custom arose from the necessity of preserving children 
from the kidnapping Persians, and that it is preserved as a mark of the Holy City. 
But its wide diffusion denotes an earlier origin. Mohammed expressly forbad his 
followers to mark the skin with scars. These 'beauty marks' are common to the 

in. l. xxvii. THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP 215 

The custom mentioned by Cailliaud 1 might also be cited in sup- 
port of Werne's theory. Speaking of an expedition to the negro 
country in the south of the Gezira, he says : 

Les Chaykyes avaient fait un mannequin figurant un homme, et cense 
representer un des leurs : c'est une coutume etablie parmi eux, d'enterrer un 
pareil mannequin au lieu ou est fixe le terme de leurs grandes expeditions. 

The giant statues hewn by the Pharaohs to mark the limits of their 
inruptions are obviously the prototypes of these manikins. 

But the gap is too broad to be bridged with such facility : to allow 
an Egyptian origin for the Shaikia is an attractive suggestion, with 
points of some speciousness, but I should prefer to hazard a theory 
that the Shaikia are partly descended from the Bosnian, Albanian 
and Turkish mercenaries who since the conquest of Selim I (1517 a.d.) 
have done garrison duty and formed settlements in Nubia just as 
Carian mercenaries did in the days of Psammetichus I, and to say 
that the obvious resemblance of type between them and the Turkish 
irregulars who lorded it over the Sudan till 1882 was in part a cause 
and in part an effect of the intermarriage that took place between 
the two 2 . 

XXVII The Shaikia country consists of the rich portion of the 
Nile valley which lies between Gebel Dayka in southern Dongola 
and the upstream end of the fourth cataract 3 . Within these limits 
in old days ruled four of their subordinate "meks" at Merowi 4 , 
Hannak, Kagebi and 'Amri respectively. Until the latter part of the 
seventeenth century they were, like the rest of the Arabs, subject to 
the 'Abdullabi " Mdngil" of Kerri, but about 1690 they were en- 
nations in the regions to the West of the Red Sea. The Barabarah of Upper Egypt 
adorn their faces with scars exactly like the Meccans — " Cp. Wellsted, i, 389. 

The fact that the Ga'aliin and the people of Mekka use the same brand is of 
course intimately connected with the claim of the former to be Beni 'Abbas, and 
might at first sight seem to point to the greater antiquity of the custom in Arabia 
than in the Sudan ; but one cannot assume that the ancient custom of the Mekkans 
had not an African origin in the first instance. For a Nigerian instance see Harvard 
Afr. Studies, 1, 87. Robertson Smith thinks these tribal markings may originally 
have been totem marks (Kinship..., pp. 214 ff.). 

Professor Seligman (Journ. R. A. I. xliii, 1913, pp. 646-8) thinks it "almost 
certain that the custom" [s.c. in the Sudan] "is derived from immigrant Arabs, 
and is not an ancient widely spread Hamitic custom." Obviously, however, the 
custom may be non-Hamitic and yet not derived originally from Mekka. For 
certain modern forms of cheek marking see Crowfoot, Customs of the Rubdtdb, 
p. 131, and Jaussen, p. 376. 

1 in, 38. 

2 Cp. Sir C. Wilson (p. 14). "The military relationship was followed by a more 
intimate one, for the Turks took Shagieh wives, and the sons all entered the Bashi 
Bazuk force...": and again "The riverain population" [s.c. of Shafkia] "...has 
sadly deteriorated through close intercourse with the Turk and Albanian Bashi 
Bazuks in the Egyptian service." 3 Cp. Lepsius (Discoveries..., p. 259). 

* Merowi was their capital in Burckhardt's day (v. Nubia, p. 68). 

216 THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP m. i. xxvu. 

couraged by the dissensions which had arisen between the 'Abdullab 
and the Fung, and the mutiny of the troops 1 , to make a bid for inde- 
pendence. Their leader in the revolt was 'Othman wad Hammad 2 , 
and the decisive action was fought opposite Dulga Island. 

Henceforth the Shaikia were under no other rule than that of 
their own "mek"; but their access to power merely increased their 
turbulence and afforded wider scope for their predatory habits. 

Poncet, in 1699, found that it was no longer safe for caravans to fol- 
low the river beyond Korti owing to the brigandage of the Shaikia, and 
that the desert route across the Bayuda had perforce to be followed 3 . 

During the eighteenth century the Shaikia extended their system 
of terrorization over Dongola province and the districts of Mahass 
and Sukkot 4 , thereby causing many of the older inhabitants to 
migrate to the west 5 . 

They seem to have met with little opposition and to have simply 
preyed without discrimination upon the less warlike tribes whose 
lands were sufficiently rich to excite their cupidity. 

They also expanded into Kordofan, for in 1784-1785 we find 
"un nombre assez considerable de soldats de differents pays, tels que 
Dongoliens, Chaydjiens, Kababych, Arabes Rezaygat," in the army 
with which Sultan Hashim attempted to invade Darfur 6 . 

Burckhardt describes them in 181 3 as "a perfectly independent 
people" having "great wealth in corn and cattle." 

They are renowned for their hospitality ; and the person of their guest, 
or companion, is sacred.... They all speak Arabic exclusively, and many of 
them write or read it. Their learned men are held in great respect by them ; 
they have schools, wherein all the sciences are taught which form the 
course of Mohammedan study, mathematics and astronomy excepted 7 . 

At the same time Burckhardt describes their career of conquest 
and rapacity. In Dongola, he says 8 , 

The Arabs Sheygya, since they have been in possession of a share of 
the revenue, take from the ground irrigated by each wheel 9 , four Mhourys 10 
of Dhourra, two or three sheep, and a linen gown worth two dollars. The 
native kings take the same. 

1 Q.v. in MSS. D 3, 153, and D 7, xlii. 

2 For whom and various details see D 3, 236 and note thereto. 

3 Poncet, p. 15, and cp. D 3, 236 note. * Burckhardt, Nubia, p. 43. 

5 Browne, p. 241 : " For many years their" [the merchants of Kobbe in Darfur] 
"native countries Dongola, Mahass and all the borders of the Nile as far as Sennaar 
...have been the scene of devastation and bloodshed, having no settled government, 
but being continually torn by internal divisions, and harassed by the inroads of the 
Shaikie and other tribes of Arabs, who inhabit the region between the river and the 
Red Sea." 6 El Tunisi, Voy. au Darfour, p. 67. 

7 Nubia, p. 70. 8 Ibid. p. 66. 9 I.e. " sdkia." 

10 A " mhoury" equals about 8 bushels (Burckhardt, loc. cit.). 

in. i. xxvii. THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP 217 

Nor were their relatives the Ga'alii'n of Shendi in any way 
exempt from their ravages : 

Before the arrival of the Mamelouks in Dongola 1 Mek Nimr had been 
for many years in continual warfare with the Arabs Sheygya, who had 
killed several of his relatives in battle, and, by making inroads into his 
dominions with large parties of horsemen, had repeatedly laid waste the 
whole western bank of the river 2 . 

Even the 'Abdullab to the south suffered from their raids : 

Depuis le demembrement du royaume de Sennar, dont ils etaient jadis 
tributaires, ils s'adonnerent avec ardeur au metier des armes, et ne tarderent 
point a devenir redoutables aux provinces qui les avoisinaient. Dongolah, 
Barbar, Alfaye [el Halfaya], eurent souvent a gemir des entrep rises de cette 
peuplade audacieuse... 3 . 

And by 1 82 1 the population of el Halfaya had fallen in consequence 
from 8000 or 9000 to 3000 or 4000 4 . 

The first check they received was caused by the flight of a large 
body of Mamluks, who had survived the massacres of Muhammad 
'AH, from Egypt to Nubia in 181 1. These were a people of more 
virile type than the tribes over whom the Shaikia had so long 
tyrannized, and they began to apply to the riverain Shaikia the 
methods which the latter were wont to use with impunity against 
others. Beginning at Arko Island they spread themselves over the 
country and plundered the property of the Shaikia and seized the 
revenues 5 , and finally established themselves in Dongola with their 
capital at Meragha and their southern border at Khandak. 

The Shaikia were not inclined to accept their discomfiture with 
tameness, and for some years each side alternately sent expeditions 
against the other with varying success. A state of hostility still existed 
between the two parties at the time of the Turkish conquest of the 
Sudan 6 . The most powerful "meks" of the Shaikia 7 at the time of 
Isma'il Pasha's invasion were Sha'us of the 'Adlanab section, whose 
capital was Merowi, and Sibayr of the Hannakab, whose capital was 
Hannak 8 . There were also two minor "meks" Medani at Kagebi 
and Hammad chief of the 'Amrab ; but on the approach of the Turks 
the whole tribe united under Sha'us and Sibayr. 

1 In 181 1. 2 Burckhardt, p. 278. 3 Cailliaud, II, 68. 4 Ibid. 11, 194. 

5 Burckhardt, Nubia, p. 72. Cp. Cailliaud, I, 403. 

6 Waddington and Hanbury, p. 230. 7 Nicholls, p. 30. 

8 Cailliaud mentions that in 1821 the Shaikia chiefs lived in "grandes maisons 
fortifiees et crenelees, de forme pyramidale, en general bien construites en pierres 
de gres jointoyees avec un ciment terreux, et susceptibles de soutenir avec avantage 
les attaques des Arabes." The point is worth noting in connection with the theory 
of Shaikia origins outlined above. (See Cailliaud, 11, 38 and 40.) 

218 THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP m. i. xxvn. 

The Shaikia now atoned for many past misdeeds by the heroic 
defence they made of their country. 

They had lived the companions of their horses, with the lance in their 
hand: they were to resign the former to strangers, and exchange the latter 
for harrows and pruning knives; and were to drive an ox round a sakie, 
instead of chasing an enemy across the desert. They had many Nubians 
settled in the country, whom they obliged to all the labours of cultivating 
the ground, and whom they treated as greatly their inferiors. They were 
now called upon to perform these labours, which they had been brought 
up to consider as servile, and were to expect no better treatment than that 
which they had been accustomed to exercise; they were to fall at once to 
slavery, not from liberty merely, but from tyranny; and again, besides 
their prejudices against white men generally, they had particular religious 
ones against the Osmanlies, to whom, in common with the Christians, they 
applied the term Dog 1 . 

However they were completely defeated at Korti and again at 
Gebel Dayka and they, their women, and their children were sub- 
jected to unheard-of brutalities at the hands of the Turks 2 . 

Mek Sibayr submitted, and some months later Sha'iis followed 
suit. But warlike and restless as ever the Shaikia were not content 
to live as mere " Felldhin" and a number of them, under the com- 
mand of Sha'iis, enlisted as irregulars in the Turkish army and accom- 
panied it on its campaign against the Fung in the Gezira 3 . When 
Isma'il Pasha returned in 1822 the 'Adlanab were granted the lands 
of the 'Abdullab who had revolted round Halfaya; and others 
— 'Adlanab, Sow Arab and Kadenkab— settled on either side of the 

Throughout the Turkish rigime the Shaikia continued to be 
faithful allies of the Turks, and in every expedition that was made 
against recalcitrant tribes they, with the Mogharba, formed the bulk 
of the irregular troops employed. They were similarly used for tax 
collecting, and their ruthless methods earned them an unenviable 
notoriety 4 . 

Even in the Dervish days they remained faithful to the Turks 5 , 
but the identity of interests and similarity of methods existing be- 
tween the two and the hatred which the Shaikia had earned for 
themselves made any other course difficult for them. After the fall 
of Khartoum the general amnesty to natives granted by the Mahdi 
was especially framed to exclude the Shaikia; and Slatin tells the 

1 Waddington and Hanbury, p. 99. 

2 Cailliaud, II, 32 et seq., and Waddington and Hanbury, loc. cit. 

3 Cailliaud, II, 182. 4 Cp. Cuny, p. 184. 

6 It was they, for instance, who relieved Sennar in 1882 when it was attacked 
by Abu R6f . 

in. i. xxix. THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP 219 

tale 1 of a question asked in Omdurman — "What are the cheapest 
articles and the greatest drug in the market?" — The answer was 
"The yellow-skinned Egyptian, the Shaikia and the dog." 

XXVIII At the present, true to type, many of them are to be found 
enlisted in camel-corps, mounted infantry, or police, maintaining 
their reputation as good fighters but truculent neighbours. Many 
others are to be found in the towns engaged in trade. As a tribe they 
are too disintegrated to have any considerable power, but they own 
broad lands in Dongola, Berber and Khartoum Provinces, they are 
still numerous throughout the Sudan, and are influential, whether 
for good or evil, by virtue of their superior individuality. 

XXIX The subdivisions of the Shaikia are as follows 2 : 

A. Kadenkab 

Chiefly in Dongola 
and Berber 

Chiefly in 
Khartoum Pro- 

1 . Hannakab (a) Mahmudab 

(b) Nasirab 

(c) K.OTAB 

(d) Sherayshab 

(e) Hasanab 
(/) Shellalil 3 

2. Salahab. Chiefly in Dongola and Berber Provinces 

3. Assomab. Chiefly in Khartoum Province 

4. 'Adlanab 4 (a) Merawi 

(b) Kagebi 

(c) Awlad Ali 

(d) ManowwarabJ 

5. HamdAb 

6. tulbunab 




10. Marzukab y 

11. Shrenkab 

12. Gherarab 

13. 'fsAYAB 

14. Faragab 5 

15. Faragullab, or Karakira 5 , 

16. Righaymab. Chiefly in Dongola and Khartoum 

17. Kodab. Chiefly in Khartoum Province 

1 Slatin, Ch. x. 

2 The following list is chiefly compiled from Nicholls, pp. 46-51. 

3 I.e. "Men of the Cataract" (" Shelldl" meaning "Cataract"). A section of 
practically the same name occurs among the Gawama'a who appear to contain 
several families of Shaikia origin. 

4 Burckhardt mentions the 'Adlanab as being the most powerful Shafkia tribe 
in 181 3 (Nubia, p. 69). They are said to be Kenuz by origin (see Appendix to ABC) 
and also to be connected on the mother's side with the Fung (see D 5 (c)). 

8 Said to be children of Kadenka by a slave woman. 

Chiefly in Dongola 


B. Um SAlim 

C. Nafa'ab 

D. Shellufab 


i t^ > \ Chiefly in Dongola Province 

[2. DayfullabJ j & 

f 1 - 


. 'Aliab 
[3. Badiab 

HawAshAb/i. Maganab 
(2. 'Akrabab 

J 1. Hasanab 
[2. DawanAb 




Ya'akubab 1 

Badiab "1 

Kalashim v Chiefly in Dongola Province 

Gadab J 


Muhammad Ab' 

Chiefly in Dongola Province 

F. 'Onia 2 

G. SowArAb 3 

Chiefly in Dongola Province 
Chiefly in Berber Province 


I Chiefly in Berber Province and the 




Mishindil. In Dongola and Berber Provinces and 

the Bayuda 
HamdullAb. In Dongola, Berber and Khartoum 

Tamalayk. In Dongola and Berber Provinces 

, . I In Dongola and Khartoum Provinces 

'Anaynab J & 

1. 'AlitAb. In Berber and Dongola Provinces 

AbAdid 5 "I 
, 2. SAlhAb .- In Dongola and Berber Provinces 
[3. Abu NAb I 

K. 'AmirAb. In Dongola Province 

H. MarisAb 
J. KurayshAb 




L. Bay'CdAb 

M. MarsAb 

(1. Agibab 
1.2. KotAtIa 
[3. AmanAb 

In Dongola Province 

fi. Hasanab 1 T ^ , „ 

^ , \ In Dongola Province 
[2. Rahmab J & 

1 A famous family of holy men. See D 3, 254, etc. The Beni Fadl and Manasra 
of Kordofan claim the Ya'akubab to be Beni Fadl by origin (see note on p. 108). 

2 Some of these are nomadic and graze their sheep in the Bayuda desert with 
the Hasania. It is no doubt a branch of them that are known as Awlad 'On and 
now form a section of the Kababfsh further west. Other 'Onia are nomadic on 
the east bank. For the legendary feud in the fifteenth century between the 'Onfa 
and the Hasanab see D 5 (c). 

3 These also are partly nomadic, and a number of them have gone to form a 
section of the Hawawir in Dongola province. 

4 Some 'Afdab are probably incorporated in the 'Awaida section of Kababfsh: 
the two names are but different forms of the same word, meaning "descendants of 
'Aid." The 'Afdab also appear as a section of the Bedayria of Dongola (see note 
on p. 199). 

6 A plural formed from Abu Dud. 


Of these sub-tribes the Sowarab and the Kadenkab are by far 
the most numerous and powerful. The former were for long at feud 
with the 'Onia 1 . 


XXX No less than five of the subsidiary groups who claim to be 
Ga'aliin have names formed from the root £■*»- (g-m-') meaning to 
gather or collect, namely the Gawama'a (sing. Gama'i) 2 , the Gima'a, 
the Gamu'ia, the Gimi'ab and the Gema'ab : the fact is expressive of 
the heterogeneity of their component parts and corroborative of the 
interpretation put upon the story of Ibrahim Ga'al. 

The GAMU'fA, the GlMI'AB and the Gema'Ab. The connection 
between these three tribes is represented in the tradition that they 
are descended from three brothers, and from the "nisbas" one 
would suppose that their eponymous ancestors lived about fifteen 
to seventeen generations ago. They may therefore have broken away 
from the parent stem of the Ga'aliin about two or three generations 
later 3 . The country they then occupied was practically that which 
they hold at present, viz. the west bank of the White Nile for some 
30 or 40 miles south of Omdurman and as far north as Goz Neffsa 4 
near the Shabluka Cataract, and certain lands south of Kerri on the 
east bank of the Nile. 

Of these three tribes the Gamu'ia have always been much the 
most powerful, and it is not uncommon to hear their name used to 
include also the Gimi'ab and the Gema'ab. 

The Gema'ab are a small and unimportant group living north of 

Omdurman. They are divided into 




The first of these have a religious reputation as having produced 
numerous "fekis" and built several small mosques. The Dushaynab 
are nomads. 

The Gimi'ab are also semi-nomadic. Their divisions are named 
respectively : 

[Shahinab (including Na'amab, etc.) 

\ G6dab 


1 See Nicholls. 

2 In addition, one half of the Gawama'a are called Gima'fa (see later). 

3 See, e.g., trees to A 2, A 6, A 10 and AB. 

4 Here they border on the Shafkia to the north. 


To the Na'amab belonged Zubayr Pasha Rahma, the famous slave- 
dealer and conqueror of the Bahr el Ghazal and Darfur. 

In the Fung period the whole Gamu'ia-Gema'Ab-Gimi'Ab group, 
as well as the ZenArkha, who are of quite different stock, were sub- 
ject to the "nahds" of the " Mek" of the Gamu'ia, and he again was 
nominally responsible for the tribute to the 'Abdullabi " Mdngil" of 
el Halfaya. 

The Sururab section, however, were partially detached from the 
rest of the Gamu'ia and enjoyed a sufficient measure of favouritism 
from the Fung king to free them from all practical control by the 
Gamu'ia "Mek." The headquarters of the latter were near J. el 
Hinayk, south of Omdurman 1 . 

The subdivisions of the Gamu'ia proper are as follows: 

NAilab 2 



FitihAb 3 /(a) Takarir 

(b) Awlad IdrisJi. Gamrab 
1 2. BAtiAb 

(c) HanAtira 

(d) 'Agaylab 

(e) SayAyik 
(/) Um 'AraykIb 


Awlad HAmid 4 



SandidAb 5 

MansCrAb 5 





'IsAwi'a 6 

fNlFf'AB 7 

Sa'adAb 7 


GhomArAb 8 
{ KarAgig 


Bega 9 

1 Browne in 1793 mentions them ("Gimmoye") hereabouts (p. 459). 

2 The family of the present "Mek." See genealogical tree in ABC. 

3 The Fitihab have almost ceased to be reckoned Gamu'ia though they are so 
strictly speaking. Their chief sheikh still calls himself a "Mek." 

4 The people of Aslang Island. 

5 It may be noted that these appear in the " nisbas" as Ga'aliin and merely 
cognate to the Gamu'ia: they have now definitely attached themselves to the latter 

6 Some of these have joined the Kababish and become a recognized section of 
that tribe. 

' There are sections of Ga'aliin bearing the same name. 

8 Possibly connected with the Berber sub-tribe, the Ghomara. 

9 These are admittedly not true Gamu'ia but emigrants from the eastern desert. 
They are a very small community living south of Omdurman. 

in. i. xxxi. THE GA'ALIiN AND DANAGLA GROUP 223 

In appearance the Gamu'ia are darker and more negroid than the 
average Sudanese Arab. They themselves attribute the fact to the 
enormous number of slaves they owned prior to the Dervish days 
and the miscegenation that resulted. That the Gamu'ia owned many 
slaves is an established fact, and no doubt, as they allege, much of 
the thieving for which as a tribe they are so notorious is due to the 
slave families whom they include, but all and sundry are uniformly 
dark and semi-negroid and it is probable that the fact is due as much 
to ancient inter-marriage between free aboriginals of Nuba stock and 
Arab immigrants as to the particular cause assigned. 

XXXI The GawAma'A. The history of the Gawama'a, in so far as 
they are Arabs, is similar to that of the Bedayria, but they are even 
less homogeneous than the latter, and the fact that taken as a whole 
they are darker in colour and more debased 1 in manners suggests 
that the original Arab nucleus of the tribe was small, and that in con- 
sequence it became more merged in the negro. There is no tribe of 
Gawama'a in Dongola, but since the Mek of the Mahass in Burck- 
hardt's 2 time was "of the family of Djama" (%*{*.), i.e. "Gama'i," 
and the plural of " Gama'i " is " Gawama'a," and the chief section of 
Gawama'a is specifically known as Awlad Gama'i, it is possible that 
the Gawama'a are related to the Mahass 3 . 

The negro element in the Gawama'a would appear to be largely 
Darfurian. We have seen earlier in this chapter that there is evidence 
that one of the Gawama'a early in the seventeenth century was 
responsible for the foundation of the royal house of Wadai, and that 
a colony of Gawama'a has been settled at Turra in Gebel Marra from 
much the same date. As to the numbers of them in Darfur from the 
seventeenth century until the nineteenth there is no information, but 
at the time of the Turkish conquest (1874) they were one of the chief 
tribes between el Fasher and the Kordofan border, and at the present 
day, though few remain in those parts, the Gawama'a are repre- 
sented by the Darok, a soi-disant Arab tribe of Ga'ali extraction, who 
used to live round Kebkebia in the west and have lately moved to 
Showai at the eastern foot of Gebel Marra, and by the Awlad 

Cuny goes so far as to say 4 that the " Djoama se disent descendants 

1 Writing as I am of Arabs and not primarily of the older Sudanese stocks I 
use the phrase "more debased" as the equivalent of "less Arab." 

2 Nubia, p. 64. 

3 Ibn Khaldun mentions a small branch of Beni Hilal, named Awlad Gama'i 
who were for a time "amirs'" of I<.abis ("Gabes") in North Africa, but there is 
nothing beyond the name to connect them with the Gawama'a of the Sudan. 
(See Ibn Khaldun, ed. ar. Vol. 6, p. 166, Bk. in.) 

4 P- 177- 

224 THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP in. 1. xxxi. 

des montagnes du Koudjara 1 , et issus de Mesaabaat 2 ," and though 
this was an overstatement, a comparison of two quotations, from 
Prout and el Tunisi respectively, illustrate the Darfur connection of 
the Gawama'a. 
i. Prout 3 . 

Among the Gowameh (one of the old races) is found a still more singular 
practice. With them no girl has the right to marry until she shall have 
presented to her brother a child as his bondman. The father of this child 
she chooses when and where she will.... 

As a matter of fact Prout is not entirely accurate : the child used 
to go to the girl's maternal uncle and the phrase ly)U. w*3U ("she 
has assisted her mother's brother") is still occasionally used as a 
pleasant euphemism. 

2. El Tunisi 4 . 

Plusieurs filles deviennent ainsi enceintes; en cela il n'y a ni honte ni 
deshonneur, meme s'il y a en inceste. Les enfants, garcons ou filles, nes 
de ces relations sont mis sur le compte d'un oncle maternel. La fille qui 
en provient est mariee plus tard par cet oncle, qui profite alors du douaire 
que paye l'epoux. 

The connection of the Gawama'a with Darfur is also evidenced 
by the fact that in Kordofan and Darfur alike many of them are be- 
lieved to have the power of transmogrifying themselves into beasts 
of prey, a trait most commonly ascribed by native opinion to the Fur 
tribes. It was mentioned in an earlier chapter that in Darfur these 
Gawama'a — who turn themselves into hyaenas — are known as 
Awlad Mana. The Darfur strain, too, must have been considerably 
reinforced in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when the 
Musaba'at and Kungara in turn dominated northern and central 
Kordofan 5 . 

During the earlier years of their residence in Kordofan the 
Gawama'a were under the Ghodiat, but as they increased in 
numbers and collected more and more scattered units into their 

1 I.e. the Kungara branch of the Fur. 

2 I.e. the Musaba'at section of Kungara. 3 Prout, p. 34. 

4 Voy. au Ddrfour, p. 213. He is speaking of the Fur apparently, but he does 
not as a rule differentiate very carefully between the Fur and the inhabitants of 
Darfur. It is therefore possible that he refers to Gawama'a settled in Darfur. It 
is more likely, however, that the Gawama'a and the Fur both used the custom and 
that for both it had a common origin. Cuny speaks of the custom, in rather differ- 
ent terms, as existing " chez la plupart des peuplades du Kordofan." The use of 
the particular phrase " 'anat Khalaha" (wrongly printed on p. 159, " ariatkal-hum " 
for "anat Khalhum") he attaches, like Prout, to the Gawama'a (" Djoama"), but it 
was also used to a less extent among the Dar Hamid. (Cuny, pp. 158, 159, 173, 174.) 

6 Cp. Holroyd, p. 176. "The inhabitants of Kordofan belong to several tribes. 
The most numerous, called Gunjarah" [i.e. Kungara], "consists of adherents of 
Sultan Fadl; the second is called Meserbat" [i.e. Musaba'at]. 


confederacy they became entirely independent, left the country to 
the south and west to the Ghodiat and Bedayria and extended their 
own cultivation and grazing areas northwards so far as the then 
nomadic tribes of Dar Hamid and the like would allow them. West- 
wards they pushed into Darfur in not inconsiderable numbers, and 
the Ga'afiria section, probably at a later date, formed the settlement 
of el Sa'ata in the intermediate country now generally known as Dar 

The Gawama'a suffered very severely in the Mahdia. Slatin 
computes 1 that scarcely a sixth remained of their original numbers in 
Kordofan. But they have wonderfully recuperated and the develop- 
ment of the extensive gum forests round el Taiara has made them 
prosperous. They and the Hamar are now the two largest sedentary 
tribes in Kordofan. 

There are small colonies of Gawama'a, refugees by origin, living 
in the Gezira and here and there along the White Nile, even as far 
south as Fama. 
XXXII The following are the subdivisions of the tribe in Kordofan. 

I. Homran 

A. Awlad Gama'i 

1. Ashkar 12. Ma'inab 

2. 'Awag 13. Awlad Nilayt 

3. Bakhit 14. Nakarmi'n 

4. mulkab 15. turkab 

5. Keramsha 16. Mashaikha 2 

6. Masikh 17. Ferarin 


8. Awlad Sherayki 19. Beluh 

9. „ Abu Sulayman 20. Karko 

10. „ ZlDAN 21. HAGU 

11. KHATRAB 22. TUK 

B. El Terayfia 3 

1. Harrania 2. Zarazir, or Awlad ZarzOr 4 

(a) Awlad Shaik 3. Awlad 'Imayr 

(b) Ketatil 4. „ 'Abd el Ahad 

(c) Selimi'a 5. Um Gurta 

(d) Timu 6. Na'amanin 

(e) Awlad Zayd 7. Awlad 'Abid 
(/)FERAGfA 8. „ 'Ali 
(g) Awlad Abu Mukhayra 9. SHELLALifN 

1 Chap. xvi. 

2 These Mashaikha are probably an offshoot of the tribe of that name, for whom 
see D 3, xiii, etc. (index). 

3 See p. 201 above. 

4 Awlad Akoi (Dar Ilamid) by origin. 

m.s.i. 15 

226 THE GA'ALIf N AND DANAGLA GROUP in. i. xxxn. 

io. 'Udusa 



(a) Um Barak HERAYHfR 


MARAziK, or Awlad Marzuk 

(b) „ Hammadowin 




2 3- 


(a) AwlAd 'Alwan 


AwlAd Kasim 

(b) ShADwAn*A 

2 5- 

,, MlKAYL 

(c) Um Tilayg 


„ Aruk 

(d) „ Haydobi 


,, 'Afuna 

12. Awlad MAga 


„ Sherafia 

13. „ SlHAYL 


„ Sherak 

14. HlLAYGA 



15. 'Arada 

3 1 - 

„ GAMf 

16. KlDIL 



17. Um Doda 


AwlAd Nur 

18. Um Wadi'd 


Um Adam 

19. Awlad Sirayr 


Awlad Abu Gin 

C. El SerayhAt 

1. Dekashma 


AwlAd Um K6t 

2. Awlad Musa 



3. „ Abu Gindia 



4. „ Abu Sunnud 


Ba'Ashim 1 

5. ,, Abu Ghulman 


NAs el Ahmar 

6. Kura'an 



7. AwlAd Gimay'a 



8. „ GamA'a 



9. Baluliin 


AwlAd HabIla 

10. Habaysia 


Um IsmA^l 

11. AwlAd Farag 

3 1 - 

AwlAd Agub 

12. ,, Bakkari 


„ RufA'a 

13. „ el Hurr 


Um KilmAn 

14. „ EL SHAYKH 


Awlad Abu Sin 

15. KelAlIm 


„ Surur 

16. AwlAd LigAm 


„ 'Alwan 2 

17. H amd An i a 


„ Abu Howa 

18. AwlAd AwAli 



19. ShiblAwiin 


Um Tidim 

20. BusAt 

D. AwlAd Murg 3 

1. Um Kelayb 


Um FAris 

2. Um BarakAt 



3. Um Dhiab 

1 Ba'ashfm is the plural of Ba'ash6m, a jackal. 

2 The same name occurs among the Terayfia. 

3 The Awlad Murg (and the Gamria) were once subject to the Serayhat or the 
Awldd Gama'i. They live north of Bara on the confines of Dar Hamid. It is note- 
worthy that of the five subsections four are named after animals, etc.: "Kelayb" 
is a puppy, "Dhiab" are "wolves," "Fa>is" is a mare: "Nuga>a" is a small war- 
drum. This naming of subtribes after animals, etc., is no doubt of totemistic origin 

III. l. xxxii. THE GA'ALHJ 



E. El Gamma 

i. Awlad Malik 


'Abd el Gibar 

2. BlDAY 


Abu HalIma 

3. Awlad Abu TimAm 


Awlad Suk 

4. Ebay'a 


„ Mumin 

5. Awlad Hasan 



6. 'Adlan 

F. El Ghanaymia 1 

1. Awlad SAlih 


Meramra 2 

2. „ 'ISA 



3. Um Shikil 


AwlAd Hamayd 

G. El Fadayll*. 



TibrAwi 4 

2. Awlad Turi 


BerAkit (BerAghith ? 5 ) 

3. FatahAwi 4 



4. 'AbdMa 



5. Mahmudi 4 



6. Tunuwi 4 

x 3- 

'AgAki 4 , or 'AgAgik 

7. Bedlawi 4 


El Gima'Ia 

A. El Ga'afiriA 

1. Awlad 'Adi 



2. ,, Um Rahman 



3. Nalia 

J 5- 

AwlAd Rahuda 

4. Botrania 


„ Merri'i 

5. Hawamda 


„ HAshim 

6. Awlad Kadim 



7. Awlad Zuayd 



8. Gerarab 



9. Masikhab 



10. Shikayt 



11. Shibaylia 


AwlAd HAshi 



Hantushi 4 

B. El GemAmla 

1. Awlad Matlut 

(d) AwlAd Muhammad 

(a) Awlad Rahayma 

(e) „ TimsAh 

(b) „ Musa 

(/) Subayh 

(c) „ Adam 

(g) AwlAd 'Abd el HamId 

and is common in the Sudan: cp. "Ba'ashfm" among the Serayhat on p. 226. 
Among the "Nuba" of northern Kordofan we find subtribes named respectively 
after cattle, rats, sheep, wood and horses: see MacMichael, Tribes..., p. 97. Cp., 
too, the case of certain Fur subtribes (p. 94). 

1 These have been in turn subject to the Fadaylfa and the Terayfia. The name 
denotes "lambs." 

2 Cp. Dar Hdmid subtribes. 3 See later, p. 231. 
4 These are singular, not plural forms. 

B Shrimps, or fleas (?). 


228 THE GA'ALIiN AND DANAGLA GROUP in. 1. xxxn. 




Awlad Abu Sharr 

(a) Awlad 'Abdulla 



(b) „ EL MuLUK 


„ EL H6SH 

(c) GakImia 


,, Habud 

(d) HelaywIn 


„ Gafun 

(e) Awlad ShAkhi 


„ Rikab 

(/) Adhuna 


,, 'Afan 












(a) Fataha 


Awlad Shayn 

(b) Abu Ashay' 



(c) 'AjiTULLA 


Um Kudi 

(d) Awlad Manna 


Awlad Masakh 




Um Shenab 

XXXIII The word "Gawama'a" being merely a plural formed 
from Gama'i it seems probable that the first mentioned of all the 
above sections represents the true nucleus of the tribe. Its sheikh is 
commonly considered the theoretical head of the tribe, the holder of 
the "nahds." 

The recurrence of uncommon tribal names is a useful guide if 
used with discretion, and from this source we obtain several clues as 
to the tribes from which the subsections of the Gawama'a were 

Among the Homran we note Mashaikha and Beluh : the latter 
are possibly connected with the Belu of the east, the former are akin 
to the Mesallam^ a. Among the Terayfia, who as a whole are closely 
connected with the Bedayria, are Awlad ShAik (i.e. ShAikia ( ?)), 
ShellAliin (in the form "ShellAlil" a section of ShAikia) and 
MarAzik (a variant of "MarzukAb," also a section of ShAMa). 

Among the SerayhAt are Kura'An, ShiblAwi^n (who are pre- 
sumably connected with the "Shibla" of the "nisbas") and Ba'A- 
shim; and the SerayhAt, taken as a whole, are properly a separate 
unit in the Ga'aliin congeries and closely connected with the Mira- 
fAb and ManAsir on the river. They are said to have entered Kordofan 
only six generations ago. 

Among the Ghanaymia we find MerAmra, i.e. DAr HAmid, and 

Among the Ga'afirIa are GerarAb, perhaps Beni GerAr; and 
among the GemAmla are DushaynAb, of whom others are with the 

The TuaymAt, it is said, are KawAhla. 

in. i. xxxv. THE GA'ALlf N AND DANAGLA GROUP 229 

The Ga'afiria as a whole are no doubt connected with the 
Ga'afiria of Upper Egypt and Dongola, who appear in the "nisbas" 
as Ga'afira and are as a rule said to be descendants of Beni Tai. 
Makrizi 1 and Ibn Khaldiin 2 mention Beni Ga'afir (with the Awlad 
Kanz north of Aswan) who were Kuraysh by origin. These are the 
"large tribe of Djaafere" referred to in the same locality by Burck- 
hardt, who says of them : 

The large tribe of Djaafere occupied the shores of the Nile from Esne 
to Assouan ; a few families of Sherifs settled in the Batn el Hadjar and a 
branch of the Koreish possessed themselves of Mahass. For several 
centuries Nubia was occupied by these Arabs, who were at continual war 
with each other, in the course of which the kings of Dongola had acquired 
so much influence over them as to be able at last to compel them to pay 
tribute 3 . 

The Ga'afiria may also contain elements of Beni Hilal 4 . 

XXXIV The camel brand most generally used by such of the Ga- 
wama'a in Kordofan as own camels is the "ruaykib" ("little rider"). 
It is placed on the right cheek and assumes in the case of the various 

sections one or other of the forms a, b, c, d,e. u , 11 

The Serayhat are an exception and use the 1 1 U 

" shabul" i.e. A, on the right cheek, a fact a » ° a e 
which bears further witness to their connection with the Manasi'r 
on the river 5 . 

XXXV THE Gima'A. The early history of the Gima'a, their separa- 
tion from the main Ga'ali stock in Nubia and their movement south- 
westwards to Kordofan, is much the same as that of the Gawama'a. 
But they lack the Darfur element that characterizes the Gawama'a, 
and, having settled further east than the latter, mixed less with the 
autochthonous population of the northern Nuba mountains, and 
during their subsequent career acquired more of the customs and 
manners typical of the Bakkara, such as their dances and their method 
of dressing the hair. Nor did they become completely sedentary in 
their mode of life. 

Their number was assessed by Prout in 1876 at about 25,00c) 6 . 

In 1885 their sheikh 'Asakir Abu Kalam was ordered by the 
Khalifa to bring them all to Omdurman. When they hesitated he 
sent Yiinis wad Dekaym to crush them. Yunis confiscated most of 

1 Q.v. ap. Quatremere, II, 204. "Their territory commences north of Man- 
falut and stretches east and west as far as Samalout." 

2 Ed. de Slane, pp. 9-1 1. 

3 Burckhardt, Nubia, pp. 133-134. 

4 See p. 147. 5 See p. 209. 

6 Report..., p. 7. Prout classes the Gima'a ("Menateh el Gimeh") as BakkaVa. 

230 THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP m. i. xxxv. 

their herds and broke up the tribe. Some were sent to Omdurman 
and others settled in Sennar Province 1 . 

At the reoccupation such Gima'a as survived returned to the west 
bank of the White Nile and now, in spite of all, they are probably 
as numerous as they were before the Mahdia. 

Some of the 'AbbaysAb branch own camels and have attached 
themselves to the Kawahla. The rest are cattle and sheep owners. 

They are subdivided as follows 2 : 

A. Manata (i. Bol 3 Muhammad 
„ Nasr 
Walad Hammad 

B. 'Ashaysh 


2. Gahaka 




DAr Awab 


a) Amumin 

b) Um FezAri 

c) Brayshab 

d) SaylAb 

e) KambuiAb 
/) Guda 

g) UMGfA(GlR?) 

h) Kenana 

a) Meshamir 

b) 'AiAl 'Ukla 

c) „ KtJKU 

d) DeranAb 


/) 'AiAl SArin 

g) „ Adam 

h) SiAgh 

j) Um Danud 

k) 'AiAl Muhammad 

7. TfNA 

The most powerful and numerous of these sections are the Bol 
Muhammad and the Bol Nasr, and it is said the former is nearly 
twice the size of the latter. 

The 'Ashaysh are not very numerous but are more homogeneous. 

1 Slatin, Chaps, xi and xvi. 

2 The spelling of these names may not in all cases be entirely accurate : they were 
obtained at second hand. 

3 The word "b6l" (yj$j) properly means "urine." It is evidently used as the 
equivalent of "seed." 

in. i. xxxvii. THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP 231 


XXXVI The Magidia or Mai'dia 1 are an almost extinct tribe, and 
the Kurtan, so far as I know, entirely so. The former are said to 
have occupied the hills near Kagmar in Kordofan about the close of 
the seventeenth century 2 , and to have been driven thence eastwards 
by the immigrating Zaghawa. 

There appear also to be remnants of them among the Nuba of 
Gebel Abu Tubr, between Kagmar and the river 3 , and Cailliaud 
mentions them in 1821 on the west bank of the White Nile above 
Khartoum 4 . 

From MS. D 3 it seems there was also one small colony of them 
at least on the Blue Nile 5 . 

For the rest, the Magidia only seem to survive as a branch of the 



XXXVII We now come to the Ga'aliin proper, the people, that is, 
who are called Ga'aliin and nothing else at the present. 

Their riverain " ddr" is between the mouth of the Atbara and the 
Shabluka cataract. 

An examination of the "nisbas" shews that they are distinctly 
junior members of the great Ga'ali fraternity, in the sense that all 
the eponymous ancestors of their subsections lived within the last 
twelve generations or less, or within, say, 400 years of the present 
day 6 . Now a period of 400 years brings us back approximately to the 
time of el Samarkandi, the great provider of genealogies, i.e. to the 
date of the great Arab-FuNG movement which resulted in the forma- 
tion of the kingdom of Sennar. 

It seems that at the beginning of the sixteenth century certain 
chieftains calling themselves pure Arabs, however freely their fore- 
bears had intermarried with the Nubians, were settled on the Nile 
with their families north of the Shabluka, and had established for 
themselves a position of authority and overlordship, as the Rabi'a 
and Guhayna had done some centuries before in the north-east, and 
that these chieftains were named 'Arman and Abu Khamsin 7 , sons of 

1 See note to D 3, 60. 2 See MacMichael, Tribes..., p. 109. 

8 Ibid. p. 101. 4 Cailliaud, III, 94. 5 See MS. D 3, 108, 200 and 204. 

6 A 1, A 2, A 6 and A 10 make Serrar, the "general ancestor," live eighteen or 
nineteen generations ago. Between him and 'Arman intervene five generations 
(see trees to BA and An); i.e. 'Arman's sons and grandsons, who are the eponymous 
ancestors of most of the Ga'aliin tribes proper lived twelve generations ago, or less. 
See in particular A 10, the pedigree of the Grand Mufti, which confirms the above. 

7 Or perhaps it was their sons or grandsons who were contemporaries of el 
Samarkandi. It is useless to be over-dogmatic, but a comparison of the "A" MSS. 
suggests that the generations subsequent to 'Arman were added by a later hand. 

232 THE GA'ALIiN AND DANAGLA GROUP in. 1. xxxvu. 

Duab ibn Ghanim 1 . El Samarkandi included them in his genea- 
logical treatise as descended from the Beni 'Abbas, and not only their 
own children — and apparently these were numerous — but probably 
all their dependants in subsequent ages claimed a like origin. 

XXXVIII About the close of the sixteenth century 2 the Ga'aliin 
proper were under Sa'ad ibn Dabus, the eponymous ancestor of the 
Sa'adab section, who appears in the "nisbas s " as grandson or great- 
grandson of 'Adlan the son of 'Arman ; and it is from this period that 
the real history of the Ga'aliin begins. 

Cailliaud 4 gives a "chronology of the princes of Shendi" begin- 
ning with "Sadab Dabbous" and ending with Nimr, the Mek who 
murdered Isma'il Pasha in 1822, but if any reliance is to be placed 
on the "nisbas"— allowing plentiful inaccuracies of detail — this 
chronology is hopelessly incorrect in its earlier stages. For instance, 
A 1 1 gives the relationships as follows : 


1 1 

Diab Duab 

;i * I 

Bishara 'Arman 



'Abd el Ma'abud 


'Abd el Salam 

El Kanbalawi Sa'ad Idrfs 

Sulayman el Adhab ( ?) 

and ABC (tree 2) as follows: 





'Abd el Ma'abud 

'Abd el Salam el Asfar Sa'ad Abu Dabus 

El Kanbalawi Idris 

1 This Duab in the MSS. has a brother Didb. The name Diab ibn Ghanim 
occurs in the Abu Zayd cycle of romances as that of one of the Beni Hilal notables 
(see Burton, Land of Midian, n, 233, and Ibn Khaldun, ed. ar. Vol. 6, pp. 14 and 
16); but there is no evidence that this is more than a mere coincidence. 

2 I arrive at this date by accepting as roughly correct the 235 years (i.e. about 
228 solar years) said by Cailliaud (m, 106) to have elapsed in 1821 since the 
accession of Sa'ad el Dabus. It will be seen that this computation agrees fairly 
closely with that made already on other grounds for the date of 'Arman. 

3 See trees to A 11 and ABC 2. 4 Loc. cit. 


But Cailliaud's list is as follows 1 : 

20 ans 


10 „ JFut tue par les 

\ Foungis a Sennar 
15 „ J Tue par les Arabes 
[ Dja'leyns 
I Tue par les Arabes 
Kaouahlehs sur 
12 „ jTua son frere Fahl 
\ Mak 

Sadab Dabbous 
Soleyman el- Addar ... 
Edrys, fils de Soleyman 
Abd el-Salam .... 

El-Fahl Mak, fils d'Abd el-Salam 

Edrys II, fils d'Abd el-Salam, frere de Mak 

Dyab, son frere 

Kanbalaouy, fils d'Abd el-Salam 
Becharah, fils d'Abd el-Salam 
Soleyman, fils de Salem 
Saad, frere de Soleyman 
Edrys III, fils de Fahl 

Saad II Mak, fils d'Edrys ... 
Mecaad, fils de Saad Mak 2 ... 
Mohammed el-Mak 

Nimir ou Nemr, fils de Mohammed 

Annees de regne ... 235 

It is at least clear that from the end of the sixteenth till the end 
of the second decade of the nineteenth century the Sa'adab were, 
nominally at least, the ruling section, and that among them the chief- 
tainship was latterly held by the Awlad Nimr. One of these latter, 
Muhammad wad Nimr, it seems, relying on aid from Sennar, rebelled 
against the legitimate line of sheikhs as represented by Musa'ad ibn 
Sa'ad and was betrayed ; but his son Nimr succeeded better and in 
1 80 1 seized the sheikhship, established himself at Shendi and rele- 
gated Musa'ad to an inferior position as sheikh of Metemma 2 . 

Both the Awlad Nimr and the other Sa'adab they dispossessed 
probably based their claims on their connection with the 'Abdullab ; 
for, on the one hand, Nimr's mother was an 'Abdullabia — and his 

1 The spelling is preserved as given: see Cailliaud, ill, 106. He obtained his 
information from a certain feki, 'Omar el Kassir, verbally (see Cailliaud, II, 318). 

2 See note to D 7, cxliv, for details. Cailliaud in 1821 speaks of Metemma as 
" Chef-lieu de la province d'el Mecaa'd." 










„ [Tue par les Arabes 

•j Kaouahlehs sur 

[ I'Atbarah 

... ... 40 


J 3 


,, (Tue par les Foungis 

\ de Sennar 

d ... 17 

„ TDepossede par Is- 
-! mayl pacha, en mai 
[ 1821 

234 THE GA'ALlf N AND DANAGLA GROUP ill. 1. xxxviil 

family on this account was described by Burckhardt 1 as " of the same 
tribe as" the 'Abdullab — and, on the other, we know from Bruce 
that in his day — before the revolt of Muhammad wad Nimr, that is — 
Shendi was ruled by a woman, the sister of Wad 'Agib (the 'Abdullabi 
"mangll"} and mother of Idris wad el Fahl, who in 1772 was the 
heir-apparent to the sheikhship 2 . 

In all probability the Sa'adab in their earlier stages were under 
the 'Abdullab suzerainty ; and that the rule of the Sa'adab may have 
been nominal rather than effective is suggested by Burckhardt's 
remark 3 concerning some villages between Darner and Shendi in 

They are inhabited by the Arabs Mekaberab, who were formerly tribu- 
tary to the chiefs of Shendy, but who have long since asserted their free- 
dom, and now live partly upon the produce of their fields, and partly by 
robbery ; they are at war with all their neighbours, and having acquired a 
reputation for superior valour, are much dreaded by them 4 . 

Later, it appears 5 , the Nirf ab, the Nafa'ab and the KarAkisa 
entertained designs of seizing the headship from the Awlad Nimr, 
but an agreement was finally reached whereby the latter and the 
Nafa'ab took the east bank and the remainder obtained the west 
bank of the river and called themselves the Sa'adab proper. 

In Burckhardt's day the Ga'aliin were still a nomadic rather 
than a sedentary tribe 6 . They had cultivation on the river but their 
subtribes roamed up the Atbara and over the Butana 7 . 

"The true Djaalein Bedouins," says the traveller, "who come from the 
eastern desert are much fairer-skinned than the inhabitants of the banks 
of the Nile. ...I was much struck with the physiognomy of many of these 
Djaaleins, who had exactly the countenance and expression of features of 
the Bedouins of eastern Arabia 8 ." 

XXXIX At present the Ga'aliin are very widely distributed as 
small traders and colonists and employees, though the nucleus of 
the tribe remain cultivators and herdsmen between the Shabluka and 
the Atbara 9 . 

They suffered enormous losses in the Dervish days: thousands 

1 Nubia, p. 268. 

2 Note the matrilinear system still in force. 3 P. 272. 
4 He hazards that perhaps they are the Megaberi of Strabo. 

6 See A 11, lxv. 6 Burckhardt, p. 279. 

7 Burckhardt, p. 265. 8 Burckhardt, p. 296. 

9 Sheikh Ibrahim Muhammad Ferah of the wealthy Niff'ab section calls him- 
self " Sheikh of all the Ga'aliin" and is accepted in theory by a certain number of 
the tribe, but his claim is only based on events dating from the Dervish days and 
is practically negligible. Such of the Ga'aliin as are not settled outside their own 
" ddr" under the sheikhs of the local tribes, or as independent traders, etc., are 
under their respective sectional 'omdas. 

in. l. xl. THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP 235 

fell, in particular at Toski and Tokar 1 , and whole villages of them 
perished of hunger in the terrible famine of 1889 2 . What was left of 
their power as a tribal unit was ended in 1897, when, on the approach 
of the British forces, they projected a rising against the Dervishes. 
The "amir" Mahmud learnt of their intention, attacked and sacked 
their headquarters at Metemma and slew over 2000 of them 3 . 

In so far as the Ga'aliin remain cultivators and herdsmen in their 
own "ddr," and have not taken to trade in the towns, they preserve 
much the same degree of tribal organization as do their neighbours 
the Batahin, Shukria, etc. The sections (Nafa'ab, 'Aliab, etc.) which 
graze their herds and sow their crops in the dry watercourses of the 
ancient Island of Meroe are each independent of the other with no 
single head-sheikh. The families who cultivate the Nile banks live 
the ordinary life of the sedentary villager and send such flocks as 
they possess eastwards in charge of their semi-nomadic kinsfolk. 

In addition, however, to these Ga'aliin and the town-dwelling 
community there are numerous isolated colonies of Ga'aliin settled 
at intervals along the Blue and White Niles as far south as Kedaref 
and Kawa, and others, though fewer, in the inland provinces. These 
are all sedentary, and unimportant. 

XL To sum up, one may say that the word Ga'aliin is used in 
two senses: in the first and widest sense it denotes all the loosely 
connected group of tribes on the river and inland, Danagla and others, 
who claim an 'Abbasid descent: in the second it is limited to the 
riverain people whose ancestor was Duab ibn Ghanim and whose 
chief habitat has been between the mouth of the Atbara and the 
Shabluka cataract since the beginning of the sixteenth century, if 
not for longer. 

In so far as the Ga'aliin congeries can be regarded as a single 
whole its homogeneity consists in the common Berberine or Nubian 
strain that exists in a very varying proportion in all its component 

There is also a strong infusion of Arab blood — more particularly 
in the Ga'aliin proper — but the error into which the native genealo- 
gists have wilfully slipped consists in ignoring the Nubian element 
and finding the common race factor of the Ga'aliin in the tribe of 
Kuraysh. The facts being as they are, it is impossible to specify any 
particular tribe of Arabia as being that to which the Arab element in 
the composition of the Ga'aliin group can be attributed in any 
exclusive sense. 

1 Slatin, Ch. xvi. 2 Slatin, Ch. XIII. 

3 Anglo-Egypt. Sudan, I, 45; Budge, II, 271. 

236 THE GA'ALlfN AND DANAGLA GROUP 111. 1. xl. 

We have seen that numbers of Kuraysh entered the Sudan at 
various times, but Kuraysh were only one tribe among scores of 
others, and the comprehensive claim of the Ga'aliin to belong to 
one special branch of Kuraysh, the Beni 'Abbas, would be difficult 
indeed to substantiate. Being themselves in some doubt as to the 
facts of the matter they had the less hesitation in making a bold 
throw for distinction. 



The Guhayna Group 

I The second great Arab group in the Sudan is known as the 

As in the case of the Ga'aliin, the word has a wider and a narrower 
sense. In the latter it applies to certain nomads the bulk of whom 
inhabit Sennar Province in the southern Gezira. In the former sense 
the term "Guhayna" is used of all the vast group, Rufa'a 1 , Kaba- 
BfsH, Dar Hamid and other camel-owning nomads of Kordofan, as 
well as of the great Bakkara fraternity of Kordofan, Darfur and the 
western states, all of whom are said to be descended from " Abdulla 
el Guhani." 

The parallelism between the use of the terms Ga'ali and Guhani 
is, however, not complete, for, whereas any native is only too glad to 
imply a connection with the Prophet by calling himself a Ga'ali, 
there is not an equal enthusiasm for Abdulla el Guhani. 

Thus a Bedayri, for instance, if asked his tribe would some- 
times say " Ga'ali," but a Rufa'i, a Kabbashi, or one of the Bakkara 
would never think of saying "Guhani." He would only say he be- 
longed to the Guhayna if he were asked "granted you are a Rufa'i 
(Kabbashi, Bakkari) from what main stock is your tribe sprung?" 

A hypocritical tendency too has arisen among some of the tribes, 
e.g. the Rufa'a, to assert a descent from one of the sons of the Imam 
Ali 2 , and to speak of the Guhayna connection as confined to the 
mother's side. Again, whereas it is useless to try and determine with 
what particular Arab tribe the Ga'aliin are most closely connected, 
in the case of members of the Guhayna group there is often sufficient 
evidence to create a strong presumption, if not a certainty. 

The reason for this lies in the fact that the Guhayna represent 
the nomad Arab immigrants who kept their tribal system unimpaired 
from generation to generation, whereas the Ga'aliin absorbed an 
older and more sedentary, and therefore more heterogeneous, popu- 

But a curious fact comes to light. The historical Abdulla el 

1 The Rufa'a are sometimes called "Guhayna el Shark" ("Eastern Guhayna") 
to differentiate them from the nomads west of the Nile. 

2 The Fadnfa are another example. 

238 THE GUHAYNA GROUP hi. 2. 1. 

Guhani was not of the tribe of Guhayna at all 1 , and hence one is 
tempted at first to say that the tribes claiming descent from him are 
unlikely to be Guhayna. The conclusion would be false however, 
for the claim to be Guhayna preceded the claim to be the children of 
'Abdulla el Guhani and was based on rather surer foundations. The 
dragging in of 'Abdulla el Guhani was merely the ill-advised expedient 
of a later generation. 

II Before dealing with the tribes that compose the Guhayna group 
it is as well to recall several facts : that the true Guhayna of Arabia 
have occupied the neighbourhood of Yanbu' for at least 1300 years; 
that there has been immigration of varying volume from this part of 
the Hegaz at every period known to history; that many Guhayna 
took part in the invasion of Egypt ; that a large force of them in the 
ninth century invaded the Eastern Desert in company with the 
Rabi'a; that by the middle of the thirteenth century they were said 
to have "conquered the countries inhabited by the Nubians" and to 
be settled between Aswan, Nubia and Abyssinia; and that another 
large body of them at the beginning of the fifteenth century was still 
in Upper Egypt 2 . 

There is therefore no reason to doubt that by the Fung period 
there was a very large number of Guhayna — "fifty-two tribes" say 
the "fiisbas 3 " — on the Blue Nile near Soba, and even more in the 
west, and that the great majority of the tribes which claim to be or 
are alleged to be descended from 'Abdulla el Guhani are ultimately 
connected with the Guhayna. 

The following are the chief of these at the present day 4 : 

RufA'a (including Kawasma, 'Abdullab, etc.) 


'Awamra, Khawalda, etc. 


DAr Hamid \ 


Beni Gerar 
Baza'a [ 



1 See note to BA, lviii, for full details. 

2 See Part I, Chaps. 2 and 3. The term no doubt included a proportion of 
neighbouring tribesmen who were joined to the Guhayna by the fortunes of war 
and community of aims. 3 BA, cxxiii. 

4 Many other "Guhayna" tribes of less importance are omitted. They can be 
found by reference to the trees of, e.g., BA. One or two tribes, e.g. the Mogharba, 
are included because they appear as Guhayna in the "nisbas" and seem to be 
related to the rest of that group in spite of the fact that they do not call themselves 

in. 2. in. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 239 



The Bakkara tribes 

Mahamid, Mahria, etc. 

Kababish (certain sections only) 



The Kababish, the Hamar, the Bakkara, the Mahamid group 
and the " Fezara" group of the above are all in Kordofan or west of 
it; the remainder are nearly all in the Gezira or east of it. 


lahAwiIn, the 'ABDULLAB and the inkerriAb 

III The RufA'A. The Rufa'a, descendants of Rafa'i, that is, 
generally appear in the "nisbas" among the Guhayna group and 
are said to have sojourned among the Bega and in Abyssinia before 
moving down to the valley of the Nile 1 . This tradition is corroborative 
of the statement quoted by Quatremere 2 that in 680 a.h. (1281 a.d.) 
a battle was fought between the Guhayna and the Rufa'a in the 
desert of 'Aidhab. The two tribes mentioned have been close neigh- 
bours for many generations, not only in Africa but also in Arabia: 
Burckhardt, writing in 1814, says 3 : 

While I was at Shendy an Arabian came from Souakin, who was of the 
tribe of Refaay (15^^;), which is related to the great tribe of Djeheyne 

(A.Uyefc.), near Yembo; he told me that he had heard that there were 
descendants of his own tribe of Refaay settled to the south of Sennaar, 
and that he intended to visit them... as they had always manifested kind- 
ness to their relatives in the Hedjaz, especially to such as had undertaken 
the journey for the purpose of saluting them. 

The Rufa'a of the Sudan themselves now claim to be distinct 
from the Guhayna in origin, though admitting that much inter- 
marriage has been taking place for centuries, and perfunctorily claim 
descent from a line of Sayyids. This however may partly be due to 
the fact that the 'Arakiin, many of whom are " holy men," claim to be 
Ashraf, and the Rufa'a are placed in the dilemma of having either 
to repudiate the claim of the 'Arakiin to be Ashraf or deny the fact 
that the 'Arakiin are a branch of the Rufa'a. They have chosen the 
obvious course of saying that the Rufa'a are all Ashraf 4 . The fact of 
the matter is that soi-disant Ashraf have intermarried with them; 
but, generally speaking, they are a composite tribe containing more 

1 See A 2, xxxv, A n, lviii, D 6, xxxv. 

2 Vol. ii, p. 172, quoting MS. Arab 672, p. 421. 

3 Nubia, p. 323. 4 See later sub 'Arakiin. 

240 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 2. in. 

of the Guhayna element than any other 1 . When I asked one of 
their chief men, 'Agab Abu Gin, whether the RufA'a were Guhayna 
or Ashraf his reply was "It is said we are Ashraf, but God knows: 
if we are not Ashraf we are certainly Guhayna." 

Makrizi calls the Rufa'a a branch of the Beni HilAl 2 , and it will 
be noticed that one section of them in the Sudan is called the HilAlia. 
It is possible therefore that the legend of Abu Zayd el Hilali crossing 
the Blue Nile near the site of the village of Rufa'a is connected with 
the southern movement of the Rufa'a from the Eastern Desert to 
the Blue Nile. 

IV In the Fung days the Rufa'a were almost entirely nomadic and 
their headquarters were Sennar, Arbagi, and el Talha. The village of 
Rufa'a, after which a district is now named, was not founded until 
the northern half of the tribe had begun to relinquish the purely 
pastoral life. 

At present the habitat of the Rufa'a is along the Blue Nile from 
its embouchure to south of Singa. They fall into two main groups. 
Of these the northern group are settled in villages in the Blue Nile 
Province: here in a single village one sometimes finds a medley of 
Rufa'a, Mahass, Ga'aliin, DanAgla and others: in other villages 
the whole population is composed of a single section of Rufa'a. 
They and the Mahass are generally regarded as the ancestral tribal 
owners of the riverain land in the northern districts of the Blue Nile 
Province, and the claim of the Rufa'a at least is probably well founded, 
for it must be remembered that though the 'AbdullAb, whose epony- 
mous ancestor four centuries ago helped 'Omara Dunkas to found 
the kingdom of Sennar, have since that time been an entirely inde- 
pendent tribe, they were properly Rufa'a of the KawAsma section, 
and their sphere extended from north of the junction of the Niles 
southwards to Arbagi. 

V The southern branch of the Rufa'a is more nomadic than seden- 
tary and is often referred to by other tribes simply as the " Guhayna " 
or "Guhayna el '(3l" ("feckless Guhayna") 3 . These are divided into 
Rufa'a el Shark (Eastern Rufa'a), or NAs Abu Gin, and Rufa'a 
el Huoi (Rufa'a of the Gezira, i.e. Western Rufa'a), or NAs Abu Rof. 
These alternative names, "Abu Gin's folk" and "Abu Rof's folk," 
are given them because for many generations they have been ruled 

1 Sir C. Wilson speaks of them (loc. cit.) as a branch of Guhayna. 

2 Quatremere, II, 201. The Beni Sulaym, who accompanied the Beni Hilal in 
their great migration, also contained a section called Rufa'a (Quatremere, 11, 214). 

3 The proverb says " Guhayna el 'Ol, el 'ashira f6k zol," i.e. "feckless Guhayna, 
ten of them all at one man." They are supposed to be particularly excitable, 
irresponsible and hasty. 


by the Abu Gin and the Abu Rof families respectively 1 . The former 
are a family of Hammada, the latter of Beni Hasan, but the sections 
subject to them have always been drawn from a medley of all the 
Rufa'a of the south, not even all the Hammada being subject to Abu 
Gin nor all the Beni Hasan to Abu Rof. In fact the titles "Rufa'a 
el Shark" and " Rufa'a el Huoi " refer to an administrative and not 
a genealogical division of the southern branch of the tribe. 

Generally speaking the Rufa'a el Shark spend the rainy season 
in the Butana and round Kala'a Arang, while the Rufa'a el Huoi 
remain in the west, moving northwards to Gebel Moya and Manakil. 

Early in the Dervish revolt these southern Rufa'a or " Guhayna " 
twice attacked Sennar in the Mahdist interest and suffered great 
losses at the hands of 'Abd el Kadir Pasha 2 . 

In 1887 the Khalifa ordered the "Abu Rof" of the day to bring 
his whole tribe to Omdurman. On his refusal a strong force was sent 
against him and the flower of the "Guhayna" were slain and their 
herds confiscated 3 . 

VI As in the south it is impossible to draw any but a purely ad- 
ministrative and geographical line between the eastern and western 
groups of "Guhayna," so, too, one would find it very difficult to 
specify any real difference in race between the sedentary Rufa'a of 
the north and the semi-nomadic " Guhayna" of the south. The same 
sections are common to both, though their proportional distribution 
of course varies. It will be simplest to give a list of the chief Rufa'a 
subtribes in order and to specify incidentally where each has its 
main habitat. It may be noted that the names of many of the smaller 
sections are chiefly familiar as being applied to villages on the Blue 
Nile which were originally built by Rufa'a but which are now in 
part occupied by later immigrants. 

The list is as follows : 

A. Kawasma 

1. 'Abdullab 4 


j 3. Um Arosa 
1 4. 'Itaybab 


V etc. 

1 It is said there have been over twenty successive Abu Rofs and Abu Gins, 
but this is doubtful. The earliest mention of either occurs in Bruce, who about 
1772 speaks of "Wed Abroff and all the Jeheina Arabs." Tremaux, II, 29, quoting 
Lejean (1862) says: "Les Abou-Rof ont rebattu...les negres Denka compris dans 
le quadrilatere de Tangle forme par le Saubat et le Nil Blanc." 

2 Slatin, Chaps, iv and xi. 3 Ibid. Ch. XII. 
4 These are dealt with later, separately. 

m.s.i. 16 

242 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 2. vi. 

Most of the Kawasma proper are now west of Sennar and on the 
Dinder 1 . 

B. 'Arakiin 

1. Feragiin 

The 'Arakiin now claim to be of Sherifi descent 2 through a series of 
holy men, biographies of whom will be found in the MS. "D 3." They 
cultivate in the south of the Blue Nile Province, in Sennar and in el Ma'atuk 
district, and a halo of sanctity still surrounds them. Their headquarters are 
at Abu Haraz. 

The small subtribe of Feragiin live with the Gamu'Ia south of Omdur- 
man. In Fung days they were under the "nahds"oi Sheikh Hammad 
el Nil el 'Araki, and they consider themselves 'ARAKiiN on both sides. 


1. Widi'ab 


3. Hasanab 

4. Ma'alia 

5. Gabrab 

There is a group of villages on the east bank of the Blue Nile called 
'Isaylat. By many the 'IsaylAt are held to be a section of the Hammada. 

D. N6lAb 

E. Zenafla. A colony of these is said to have lived at Kalkol near 
el Kamlin before the coming of the Mahass. But I have also heard 
them spoken of as " Ghuzz," i.e. Mamluk or Bosnian stock and not 
RufA'a at all. 

F. HagAgAb 

G. BeshAkira. There is a village on either side of the river in el Kamlin 

district called after them. 

H. ShibaylAt 

J. HalAwiin 

These are chiefly in Rufa'a district and Sennar, and are a large and 
turbulent section, much feki-ridden. In a list of Arab tribes in Egypt, 
east of the Nile, Sir G. Wilkinson includes "Alloween," who are probably 
a branch of the same people, between Egypt and Petraea and north of 
Sinai. (See Modern Egypt and Thebes, II, 380.) 

K. FerahAb 

L. Ma'adi'd. In Rufa'a district and Sennar. 

M. Faradiin 4 

N. FaragAb. A few live in Kawa district on the White Nile. 

1 Several others of the Rufa'a sections given below are often also included as 
I£awasma : in fact, half the tribe is popularly so considered : the reason is that they 
were for long under the 'Abdullah chieftainship. 

2 Cp. MS. C 9, but for the real facts see D i, ci. 

3 Corrupted into " Sirhaynab." 

4 Probably connected with the Ibrahim ibn 'Abudi el Faradi whose biography 
is numbered 135 in D 3. 

in. 2. vi. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 243 

O. TowAl, or TowALifN. Chiefly in el Ma'atuk and Kawa districts. 
They are said to be a branch of the Hammada. 

P. ShabArka 

As regards this section it is interesting to note that ShabArka also occur 
in the northern hills of Kordofan 1 , where they are called Shaberko and 
are said to have immigrated from the Blue Nile in ancient days and to have 
spread even further westwards into Darfur. They are also said, at el Haraza, 
to be connected with the TowAl section of KabAbish. As the TowAl also 
appear in the list of RufA'a tribes, and their name and that of the Sha- 
bArka were given me one after the other, it is a fair presumption that some 
of the RufA'a passed into Kordofan and mixed, some with the Nuba of 
el Haraza and some with the nomads north-west of them, while others 
reached Darfur. 

That there were also cases of movement in the opposite direction is 
evidenced by the existence of two villages on the Nile called "el Nuba," 
one near el Kamlin and one north of Khartoum, both of which are said to 
have been formed by colonies from el Haraza. In the case of the former 
village it is said seven Nuba from Kordofan were allotted land there by 
the Fung and their daughters were married by Arabs. 

Q. HilAlla 

R. 'Akaliin. This subtribe was all but wiped out by the famine of 
1 889 s , but it has recovered and large numbers now live round 
Sennar and in Mesallamia district, with scattered villages in the 
Gezira and on the White Nile. 

S. Beni HasAn 3 

(1. Wad B alula 

I 2. 'AtAmla. Abu Rof's own family. 

1 3. Wad Abu SirwAl 

{ etc. 
Their habitat is south of el Manakil and between Singa and Rosayres. 

T. Beni Husayn 3 . They live with the Beni Hasan and west of them 
to the White Nile. 

U. Hammada 3 

(1. R\hAhla 
- 2. Ghuzz 
[3. Rib ay 'At 
These are the "Nas Abu Gin" proper. In Fung days their chief had 
the rank of " Mdngil" and the right of wearing the two-horned "takia." 
In 1889 they and the 'Akaliin suffered equally 4 . Their habitat is on the 
Rahad and the Dinder. The capital of the Abu Gin was at Deberki. 

V. 'UlAtiin 3 . Semi-nomadic. They have villages in the east and the 

west of the Gezira. 

W. ZamAlta 3 

1. KamAti'r 3 

1 See MacMichael, Tribes..., p. 97. 2 Slatin, Ch. xm. 

3 These sections are closely connected. Almost all are in Sennar Province, in 
the neighbourhood of Singa. 4 Slatin, loc. cit. 

16 — 2 

244 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 2. vi. 

The Kamatir, or Awlad Kamtur, have now all but died out as a 
result of constant warfare with the Fung in the eighteenth century. Their 
chief, who was usually known by the tribal name of Kamtur, had the 
right of wearing the "takia 1 ." His domains stretched from Karkoj to 

X. RAzKf a. These, like the 'Arakiin, claim descent from AshrAf. They 
are the only section of RufA'a (if RufA'a they be) who live north of the 
junction of the Niles. 

VII The Guhayna Proper. Now although the term " Guhayna " 
is applied vaguely by other tribes to all the Rufa'a, and more especi- 
ally those of the south, the Rufa'a el Shark and Rufa'a el Huoi, 
there is living near these a group of small tribes to whom the term is 
more especially applicable and to whom the Rufa'a themselves apply 
the term Guhayna: these are the Ma'Ashira, the GenAna, the 
RukAbin 2 , the Ga'afira and the RowAshda. They are largely 
nomadic in habit. A few of them are settled in villages, but most 
graze with the Rufa'a el Shark round Kala'a Arang, el Tdayd and 
Suki. They are not numerous and they are now subject to the Shu- 
kriA of Kassala Province. 

VIII The LahAwiin 3 . These are related to the Rufa'a group and 
are practically all nomads. One portion of them have for many 
generations lived on the east bank of the White Nile between el Kawa 
and Gebelayn and inland 4 . These are often spoken of as "Nas Wad 
el Labayh." The other portion is more given to camel-breeding, 
and has its grazing-grounds farther east in the neighbourhood of 
el Fasher on the Atbara. These latter were for several generations 
attached to the KabAbish and lived in northern Kordofan and were 
known as the Guhayna section ; but they quarrelled with the "nazir " 
of the KabAbish in 19 10 and moved eastwards over the Nile. They 
are now under the Shukria. Their well-known camel brand is a 
"tubd'a" on the left side of the nose with a " kildda" on the left 
side of the neck 5 . 

1 Jackson, p. 91 note. For Muhammad Kamtur see MS. "D7," passim. 

2 Cp. Rikabfa. 

3 The name Lahawi is said to be derived from the "lahawia" or great bag in 
which the nomads carry grain, gum, etc. The root is the same as that of "liha" 
(bark-fibre) and occurs also in the name of the Luhaywat Arabs who live in Sinai 
among the tribes of Tih. These Luhaywat are said to be a subdivision of the 
Mesa'fd branch of the Beni 'Atia and ancient companions of the Beni 'Ukba. 
(See Na'um Bey, Hist. Sinai..., p. 117.) There is also, to the north-east, a section 
of 'Anaza called Lahawin (Burckhardt, Notes..., 1, 4 and 30). 

4 Cailliaud (in, 94) notes them on the west bank of the White Nile above 
Khartoum in 1821. He calls them " Ellahouyehs." 

6 "Lahawwy" is mentioned by Doughty (Arabia Des. I, 125) and Zwemer 
(p. 279) as the name of an Arab tribe in Arabia at the present time. The brand of 
these is £Y. 

in. 2. ix. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 245 

IX The 'AbdullAb. The 'Abdullab are now a small and scattered 
family living round Khartoum North, and here and there on the Blue 
Nile below Rufa'a, with a little riverain cultivation and a few cattle, 
sheep and goats. But, poor as they are, they take a legitimate pride 
in being the descendants of that famous 'Abdulla Gema'a of Kerri, 
an Arab of the Kawasma branch of the Rufa'a 1 , who helped 'Omara 
Dunkas, the first Fung king, to extirpate the Nuba and 'Anag from 
the Gezira and found the kingdom of Sennar, and who was himself 
the founder of a line of hereditary viceroys with their headquarters 
near the junction of the Niles. For several generations the successors 
of the great 'Abdulla, whose sphere extended from the Shabluka 
cataract to Arbagi, resided at Kerri, but — it is not known exactly 
when 2 — they moved their capital to Halfayat el Muluk. 

The official title that they bore was " Mdngil" or " Mdngilak" 
a non-Arabic term applied to several of the Fung viceroys in dif- 
ferent parts 3 , but par excellence to the reigning 'Abdullabi. 

A list of the successive 'Abdullab sheikhs was compiled by 
Cailliaud in 1821, but the relationships are not made clear and there 
are errors of detail: certain names too have been included which 
probably belonged to well-known relatives of the " Mdngils" rather 
than to the actual holders of office. 

A second list made some seventeen years ago by Na'um Bey 
Shukayr, and quoted by Budge, is even less accurate. A comparison 
of these with the MSS. "D 3 " and "D7" and a pedigree 4 lent me 
by a direct descendant of the "Mdngils" suggests the following 
genealogical table as being reasonably correct. It is not complete 
and it may contain inaccuracies, but it is at least more correct, as far 
as it goes, than the older lists quoted. A common source of confusion 
has been ignorance of the fact that every "Mdngil" after the time of 
'Agib I, the son of 'Abdulla, was known, sometimes by his own 
name, but more commonly by that of "Wad Agib." 

1 In the 'Abdullabi pedigree three generations interpose between 'Abdulla and 
Rafa'i (ancestor of the Rufa'a). 

2 It was perhaps between 1779 and 1790 as Muhammad el Amin, who is speci- 
fically alluded to in D 7 as " Sheikh of Kerri," was their headman during that 

3 See Appendix to this section. The 'Abdullab appear also to have practised 
the Fung custom of slaying their king, for which see p. 50, and (Part IV) MS. 
D 5 (a). 

* It only gives a single line of names from son to father. These names are 
marked with an asterisk in the following tree. The figures mark the order of suc- 
cession: the letters refer to the footnotes that follow. 

246 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 2. ix. 

1. *'Abdulla Gema'a (a) (d. 1554-1562) 

2. *Sheikh Agfb I, " el Kafuta," or " el Mangilak " (6) 

(d. 1604-1611) 

3. *E1 'Agayl (c) 


? El Amin Aradib (d) 4. * 'Abdul la II (e) Shammam (/) (d. 1747) 

(d. 1689-1715) 

El 'Agayl (g) 

5. *Mismar(£) 6. 'Agib (h) (d. 1779) 'Omar (7) 
10. 'Abdulla III (/) 

7 and 9. 8. Badi (k) (d. 1799) 

*Muhammad el Amfn I (i) (ace. 1784) 
(d. 1790) 

11. Nasir(m) *'Agib 

(ace. 1799) 

12. El Amfn II (m) 

13. *'Omar 

(a) See D 7, v and xv. Cailliaud wrongly calls him 'Agib. 

(b) „ D 7, v and xx. He is Cailliaud's " Mangalek el K6byr." 

(c) ,, D 7, xx. The Hammad el Samfh and his son 'Othman mentioned in 

Cailliaud's list and in D 3 seem to have obtained the power 
after this man. 

(d) „ D7,xlii. 

(e) ,, D 7, LVin. Cailliaud (in, 96) wrongly calls him son of 'Agayl. 
(/) „ D 7, lviii. (g) See D 7, lviii. 

(h) „ D7, lxxvi. (t) ,, D7, lxxvii and note, and cxii. 

(J) „ Cailliaud, loc. cit. (k) ,, D7, lxxxix and xc. 

it) „ D 7, cxxxviii and exxvm. 

(m) „ D 7, cxl and clxxxvi. 

(n) „ Cailliaud, loc. cit. 

(p) „ D 3, lviii. He only ruled two months. 

Now 'Abdulla Gema'a and his successors were more than chiefs 
of the 'Abdullab : they were set in authority over all the tribes of 
Arabs in the valley of the Nile, excepting those in the neighbourhood 
of Sennar itself where the " Mek" maintained some 12,000 Nuba 
"to keep the Arab in subjection 1 " : with the aid of these the " Mek" 
used to "levy the tax upon the Arabs as they went down, out of the 
limits of the rains, into the sandy countries below Atbara to protect 
their cattle from the fly 2 ." 

Bruce describes Wad 'Agib's position about 1770 as follows 3 : 

This prince was nevertheless but the Shekh of all the Arabs, to whom 
they paid a tribute to enable him to maintain his dignity and a sufficient 

1 Bruce, Bk. VII, Ch. 7. 

2 Ibid. Ch. 8. Bruce computed that this system used to cost the Arabs yearly 
half their substance. 3 Ibid. Ch. 9. 



strength to keep up order and inforce his decrees in public matters. As for 
ceconomical ones, each tribe was under the government of its own Shekh, 
old men, fathers of families in each clan. 

The residence of this Arab prince... was at Gerri, a town in the very 
limit of the tropical rains, immediately upon the ferry which leads across 
the Nile to the desert of Bahiouda, and the road to Dongola and Egypt, 
joining the great desert of Selima. This was a very well chosen situation, 
it being a toll-gate as it were to catch all the Arabs that had flocks, who, 
living within the rains in the country which was all of fat earth, were 
every year, about the month of May, obliged by the fly to pass, as it were 
in review, to take up their abode in the sandy desert without the tropical 
rains. ...The Arab chief with a large army of light unincumbered horse 
stood in the way of their return to their pastures till they had paid the 
uttermost farthing of tribute, including arrears if there were any. Such 
was the state and government of the whole of this vast country from the 
frontiers of Egypt to those of Abyssinia at the beginning of the 16th 

Clearly the Arabs had no enviable lot. Bruce may again be 
quoted 1 : 

The Arabs who fed their flocks near the frontiers of the two countries, 
were often plundered by the kings of Abyssinia making descents into the 
Atbara ; but this was never reckoned a violation of peace between the two 
sovereigns. On the contrary as the motive of the Arabs for coming south 
into the frontiers of Abyssinia was to keep themselves independent and 
out of the reach of Senaar, when the king of Abyssinia fell upon them 
there he was understood to do that monarch service, by driving them down 
farther within his reach. 

The attitude of the rulers of Abyssinia and Sennar towards the 
Arabs was in fact exactly that of the Mamluks in Egypt in the Middle 
Ages and of the Sultans of Darfur in recent times. 

By the time of the Turkish conquest of the Sudan the 'Abdullab 
had been independent of the kingdom of Sennar for some fifty years, 
but the northern districts of their country for the whole of that 
period had been a prey to the marauding Shaikia 2 . In name, how- 
ever, they still ruled the country as far south as the junction of the 
Dinder and the Blue Nile 3 . 

X The InkerriAb. Connected by race with the 'Abdullab are the 
InkerriAb of Berber Province. 

A MS. in the possession of one of them (but not included in the 
following collection 4 ) gives 'Abdulla Gema'a, whom, by the way the 

1 Vol. IV, Bk. iv, p. 4. 2 Cailliaud, n, 195. 

3 Ibid. pp. 198 and 220. "Lodaguib" there is of course Wad 'Agfb. 

* An Arabic copy was kindly sent me by Mr F. C. C. Balfour of the Sudan Civil 
Service. The author of the MS. says " I copied it from another who copied it from 
its owner Sheikh 'Omar ibn Muhammad, who brought a copy from Medina... from 
the noble Sayyids." Probably it is nearly all a fake. 

248 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 2. x. 

author prefers to call a "Sayyid," descended on his father's side 
from the Imam 'Ali 1 , nine sons, namely Dayuma, Shenda 2 , Idn's 
Inkayr, Subba, 'Abuda, Adrakog, Shawar, 'Antar and 'Agib the 
Mangilak. Of these, it is said, 'Agib was the youngest and the only 
son of his mother, a daughter of Sherif Hammad Abu Denana 3 . The 
mother of the others, it is thought, was " a girl given to him ['Abdulla] 
by the king of the Fung at the time of the advance of the Arabs to 
conquer the Sudan." 

From Idn's Inkayr were descended the Inkerriab 4 , from 'Abuda 
the Kan gab, from Shawar the Dukalab, and from Dayuma the 
KalisAb, the 'Araia, the Hamaydab, the ShawarAb, the Hammadab, 
the Zurruk, the MatayrikAb, and the Shendi ab 5 . From 'Agib, 
says the manuscript, were descended the Misamir, the 'Agibab, the 
Shemamim, the 'Othamna, the Asidab, the 'Araybab and the Ham- 
madab, names obviously formed from those of famous historical 

Appendix on the use of the term "Mangil" 

XI The term is said to be of Hamag origin: its derivation is uncertain. 
The rank of Mangil carried with it the right to wear the " takia" which 
was worn also by the Meks of Sennar (see D 7 ccxi note). This " takia" 
may be described as a close-fitting hat with two stuffed flaps or wings 
resembling horns. Werne describes it (p. 159), and says the Mek of 
Fazoghli, the Sheikh of the Beni 'Amir, the Sheikh of the 'Abdullab, and 
the Mek of the Ga'aliin were entitled to wear it. To these may be added 
the Sheikh of the Hammada and the Sheikh of the Kamatir of Khashm 
el Bahr district (q.v. above sub Rufa'a). The Ghodiat of Kordofan say 
their chief in olden days also bore the title and are corroborated by others. 
I have myself seen Mek Zaybak of Rashad, a Nuba hill south of Tekali 
much subject in the eighteenth century to Fung influences, wearing a 
"takia." Jackson (p. 95) thus describes the investiture of an 'Abdullabi 
" Mangil " ': "The newly appointed Sheikh first received a 'Tagia,' which 
consisted of two horns filled with cotton ; this he put upon his head before 
taking his seat on the throne called ' Kukur ' ; he was then addressed with 
the title of Mek, and saluted : ' may your reign be prosperous ! ' The Sultan 
then kissed his hand, and, after wishing him success, ordered the state 

1 The author allows that on the mother's side 'Abdulla was a Rufa'i, and pre- 
tends to think that genealogists have been led astray by this into thinking he was 
a Rufd'i by race. 

2 Hence, according to the author, the name of the town of Shendi. On the 
other hand, the Fur say "Shendi," or " Sendi," is a Fur word meaning the womb 
and that it was so named in Kungara days because all mankind went to or came 
from it. 

3 Vide Index sub "Abu Denana." 

4 The name " Inkerriab" is more likely to be derived from Kerri. 

5 All these are small families scattered over the Sudan. The first five sections 
mentioned as descended from Dayuma were by a Rufa'fa mother, the next by a 
Fungawfa, the next by an 'Awadia (i.e. Ga'alia). 

III. 2. xiii. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 249 

drum to be beaten in order to announce that the king had been crowned. 
...The newly-crowned king then returned to his people with the 'tagia' 
and ' kukur,' for which reason the Abdelab were called ' the people of the 
"tagia" and "kukur."'" 

A "Mdngil" was invested not only with a "takia" turban but with a 
('emma), a sword, a robe and, perhaps, a "heikali," or gold chain (see 
Jackson, pp. 92 and 95); and it is impossible not to connect these insignia 
with those of "Jausar who wore the turban and the two horns and the 
golden bracelet" in the thirteenth century at Bujaras, the capital of the 
district which lay between Aswan and Korosko (see p. 177). 

Deherain (p. 59, quoting Junker, Reisen, 1, 101 and 108) says: "Le roi 
[s.c. of Sennar] remet a celui qu'il agree le signe du commandement, le 
Taquie el Qarne, bonnet de velours ou de soie bariolee orne de deux 
appendices en forme de cornes." The Fung king was allowed by the Turks 
after the conquest to retain the right to wear the " takia." 

At the conquest of Darfur, hats of the same description were found in 
the Sultan's camp. They were worn on gala days by his chief bugler and 
the " Khashkhangia" (blunderbuss-men) of the royal guard. 

The title of "Mdngil" always carried with it a considerable tract of land. 


XII The Beni 'Omran are a tribe of indeterminate origin. They 
claim to be Ashraf but the "nisbas" class them as Guhayna. A 
few of them are scattered in the central Kordofan villages among 
the Bedayria and others live in eastern Darfur, more especially near 
the Kordofan frontier. These latter divide themselves into : 

'Awlad el Mansur 



Awlad Malik 

Beni 'Atif, or 'Awatifa 1 (near Wada'a) 


AiAl Muhammad 
,, Muhagir 
,, Ibrahim 
^ „ Hasan 

and state they came from Diraw in Upper Egypt, some seven genera- 
tions ago, as traders and "fukara." In type they resemble the 
Bedayria. They may be connected with the 'Omran noticed by 
Burckhardt 2 near 'Akaba. 


XIII The first three of these tribes are unimportant semi-sedentary 
folk, each with some score of villages and herds of sheep and goats 
in the Gezira. 

1 Cp. '"Atayfat." 2 Notes..., n, 9. 

250 THE GUHAYNA GROUP m. 2. xm. 

Many of the Khawalda are in the south with the rest of the 
members of the LahawiIn-Kawasma group, and others are further 
north in the neighbourhood of Wad Medani. 

The 'Awamra are in the northern Gezira and have a few settle- 
ments on the banks of the Blue and White Niles above Khartoum. 

The 'Amarna, the least numerous of the three, have villages near 
Gebel Moya. 

The FadnIa are partly nomadic and partly sedentary. The nomadic 
branch graze in the valley of the Hawad and all over the northern 
part of the Island of Meroe 1 . Their neighbours are the Ga'alhn 
proper, the Kawahla and the 'Aliab 2 . They include Halatwa, 
Ahaymerab, Nafafi'a, Helaywab and other sections. 

The sedentary division of the Fadnia cultivate on the river banks 
in Berber Province and claim to be Ashraf 3 . 


XIV THE SHUKRfA. From the generality of "nisbas" it would 
seem that the ShukrIa belong properly to the Guhayna group, 
although they have pretensions to be Kuraysh 4 . 

It is impossible to say at what period their ancestors first came to 
the territories now occupied by the tribe in the Blue Nile and Kassala 
Provinces. For some centuries the Shukria were of no particular 
importance, though we hear vague rumours of fights with the ancient 
inhabitants of Gebel Kayli for the possession of wells there 5 , and acts 
of defiance to the Fung and Ham AG of the Gezira 6 . 

The foundations of the eminence to which they attained in the 

1 Close to the ruins of Basa is the tomb of the "feki" Bafadni, a well-known 
sanctuary. (See Crowfoot in Arch. Surv. Nubia, xix, p. 13, and cp. D 6.) 

2 The 'Alf&b include sections called Yezid, Idirga and Kimaylab. 

3 See A 2, A 11, and especially D 6. BA classes the Fadnia as Guhayna. 

4 See C s (a) and (b). See also D 7, xi and ABC, xxvm, and notes thereto, 
from which it will appear that there may be a connection between the Shukrfa and 
the Arabian tribe of Yashkur, a branch of Kays 'Aylan. 

5 In these traditions the Kayli folk are spoken of as 'Anag. 

6 The following anecdote was told me by a Mesallami: " In the days when the 
Shukrfa were under the Hamag, the latter in their haughtiness bade the former not 
to foul the ' Butana ' by leaving their she-camels' afterbirths (' silla ') in it but to take 
them away and throw them into the river. The Shukrfa had perforce to obey, but 
one youth dared to disobey and the Hamag king Torunga put him to death. A year 
later, on the anniversary, Hammad, the brother of the murdered man, appeared 
before Torunga in armour and demanded his revenge. Torunga in wrath replied, 
' Perform the marriage ceremony here and now to celebrate my marriage with this 
fellow's wife' — he reckoned Hammad, that is, as good as dead and his wife taken 
as loot. The ceremony was then performed (in the lady's absence of course), and 
Torunga made ready to slay Hanimad ; but Hammad slew Torunga with one blow, 
and H 31111113 ^^ six companions slew the whole Hamag army." 

in. 2. xiv. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 251 

nineteenth century were laid by the famous Abu Sin family. Its 
ancestor was Nail, son of the Sha'a el Din wad el Tuaym, whose 
tomb, with that of his wife Bayaki bint el Mek 1 , is still to be seen at 
the south-east foot of Gebel Kayli, on the edge of the Butana; and 
from Nail and his brother el Niir are descended most of the Shukria 
sections of the present day. 

Nail lived nine generations ago, that is, probably, early in the 
seventeenth century, and the table of his male descendants, or such 
of them as are known, is as follows : 




' I 
Abu 'Ali 


'Awad el Kerim 

Ahmad Bey * Muhammad Hasan 'Adlan 'Omara Hammad 2 'Ali 

I II 2 q I I I S a I 

2 * O £ ^ •£ O a ^ I 3 
•- 1 .* ^ H A A 



































re 3 





3 ^^ 




■ - -p' " ■ ,,,...■■ 1 

Hammad 4 Muhammad 'Ali el Hadd 'Abdulla 5 (four other 

fill sons) 

(three sons) (three sons) (four sons) (six sons) 

1 His sons, as shewn above, are in no exact order. 

2 See D7 cxcili. 

3 The name denotes a hard rider. "Hardellu" used to guide the tribe when 
changing their pasture, riding fabulous distances to find out where was the best 
grazing and where the rain-water lay most plentifully. 

4 Head of the Shukria of Kassala. 

6 Head of the Shukria in the Blue Nile Province. 

The earliest of these about whom we have any information is 
Abu 'Ali, who about 1779 was killed in a revolt of the Shukria 
against the Fung 2 . 

1 According to some accounts the "Melt" was a Mek of Sennar, i.e. it was a 
Fung princess whom Sha'a el Din wedded and brought to Gebel Kayli. According 
to another and much more likely account she was a daughter of the (pagan ?) 
Mek of Kayli. She is said to have lived on the top of the hill and her people at the 
foot of it. The graves mentioned consist of an inner and an outer ring of stones, 
the former being about the size of the corpse and the outer being made merely to 
prevent the floods washing away the inner. 

2 See D7, lxxv. 

252 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 2. xiv. 

His son 'Awad el Keri'm Abu Sin succeeded him and must have 
been the chief of the tribe at the time when they, in alliance with 
the 'Abdullab, sacked Arbagi in 1784 1 . He was killed in the war of 
1802 against the Batahin 2 . 

But the greatest of all the Shukria sheikhs was the "grand old 
Arab patriarch" Ahmad Bey ibn 'Awad el Kerim of whom Sir Samuel 
Baker has left so vivid a portrait 3 . During the early years of his 
sheikhship the tribe was at mortal feud both with the Batahin and 
with the Ga'aliin and Ahamda east and south of Shendi 4 , and, like 
the rest of the nomads, at daggers drawn with the Fung government 5 . 

But when the Turks conquered the Sudan they found it necessary 
to obtain the support of the influential sheikhs, and Ahmad Bey 
became one of their most trusted allies. In return, wide privileges 
were granted, and during the latter part of the Turkish regime the 
Shukria were lords of the Butana and held a general overlordship 
over all the nomads of the Blue Nile, the Gezira and the Atbara, 
and tithes were paid to the Abu Sin family 6 on the crops of nearly 
every wddi in the ancient Island of Meroe. 

The Shukria attempted to keep aloof from the Mahdi 7 in the 
early Dervish days and their power diminished in consequence. Then 
came the famine of 1889 and almost annihilated the tribe 8 . Now, 
though they are again a large and wealthy camel-owning tribe they can 
no longer claim any position of pre-eminence. 

Part of them are now in Kassala province 9 , and the majority are 
between the Blue Nile and the Atbara. The head of the Abu Sin 
family, 'Abdulla ibn 'Awad el Kerim, still resides at Rufa'a and enjoys 
the esteem and respect of all, as did his grandfather Ahmad Bey, but 
his ancient authority is a thing of the past. His brother Hammad 
rules the Shukria of Kassala. 

The main subdivisions of the Shukria are as follows : 

NailAb. Descendants of Nail wad Sha'a el Din. They include the Abu 

Sin family. 
NurAb. Descended from el Nur, brother of Sha'a el Din. Most of 

them are in Kassala Province, but there is a branch near 

Abu Delayk. 

1 See D 7, xc. 2 See D 7, cli. 

3 See note to D 7, ccxc, and Baker, pp. 75 and in. 

4 Burckhardt, p. 346, and Cailliaud, in, 108. 

5 Ibid. pp. 316 and 400. 

6 Cp. Baker, p. 75. The head of the family held the title "Sheikh el Mashdlkh." 
Mansfield Parkyns (11, 405) adds, however, that the same title was held by the chiefs 
of the Abu Gin and the Abu Rof families. 

7 Cp. Sir C. Wilson, loc. cit. 

8 Slatin, Ch. xin. 

9 In Turkish days rCedaref used to be known as " Suk Abu Sin." 

in. 2. xv. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 253 

GalAheb. Descended from Gilhayb, said to be great-grandfather of 

Sha'a el Din 1 . 
KadurAb. In Kamlin district and independent of"| Descended from 

the Abu Sin family. I 'A wad el Kerim 

'Adlanab j the brother of 

HasAnAb. Round Gebel Kayli 2 . J Nail. 




Ritamat \ Not descended from Sha'a el Din. 



The DubAsiIn. Racially connected with the Shukria, though 
the details of the relationship are not clear, are the small tribe of 
Dubasijn, who live in the northern Gezi'ra. 

They are divided as follows : 


, In Kamlin district. 
Hetaykab J 

GifaynAb. In Kamlin, Mesallamia and Khartoum districts. 

„ , [In Mesallamia district. 

Bilaylab J 

GebelAb. In Rufa'a district. 

RaydAb. In Khartoum district. 

The DubAsiin are said to have split away from the Shukria some 
seven or eight generations ago. For the most part they remained 
nomadic until the present generation — nor are they yet entirely 
sedentary — but their wanderings in search of grazing never extended 
much more than seventy miles or so south of Khartoum 3 . 

In Turkish days they were at feud with the HalAwiin branch of 
the RufA'a. 


XV The name of this tribe does not occur in the genealogies of the 
Sudan, a fact which in itself is good evidence that their present claim 
to be Arabs is of the slightest, and they would appear to form, from 
the racial point of view, a part of the Shangalla congeries peopling 
the fertile belt which bounds Abyssinia on the west. 

1 Between Sha'a el Din and the eponymous ancestor Shakir or Shukur the names 
vary in different verbal accounts : e.g. one (that of Ahmad Kayli) gives them from 
son to father thus : " Sha'a el Din, el Tuaym, Um Besha, Gilhayb, Wahshi, Shakir" ; 
another (from the Abu Sin family) gives them thus: "Sha'a el Din, el Tuaym, 
Habash6m, Tagir, Sa'ud, Wahshi, Zaydan, Shukur." 

2 The curious adoption of the surname "Kayli" by the successive hereditary 
sheikhs of this section is noted in A 7 (q.v.). 

3 They are said to have had " gerf" (foreshore) cultivation at Khartoum before 
the site was taken by the Turks for building the present town. 

* They are called either indiscriminately. 

254 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 2. xv. 

Bruce 1 places them in the Mazaga district near the junction of 
the Seti't and the Atbara, and speaks of " the Dobenah,the most power- 
ful of all the Shangalla, who have a species of supremacy, or command, 
over all the rest of the nations": he sees in them the descendants 
of Ptolemaeus's "elephantophagi." Again he calls 2 "Dobenah" a 
"general name" for the tribes who shared with the Basa of the 
Atbara ("Tacazze") "the peninsula formed by that river and the 
Mareb" (the Kash 3 ). He recalls 4 the attack made upon them by 
Yasus I of Abyssinia (1 680-1704) and concludes 5 : "Thus ended the 
campaign of the Dobenah. ...And yet, notwithstanding the smallpox, 
which, in some places, exterminated whole tribes, the Dobenah have 
not lost an inch of territory, but seem rather to be gaining upon 
Sire." On the other hand, relating the expedition of Yasus II in 
1736 into the territories of the Fung Bruce says 6 : "The King, in 
five days marching from Gidara, came to a station of the Daveina, 
which is a tribe of shepherds, by much the strongest of any in 
Atbara." These "Daveina," whom Bruce seems to have forgotten to 
connect with the "Dobenah," although he himself in different places 7 
tells us of each that it inhabited Mazaga district, are certainly the 
Dubaina or Dubania of the present day, and must surely represent 
a more arabicized branch of the Shangalla "Dubena 8 " settled rather 
farther west than their kinsfolk 9 . 

Werne in 1840 speaks of the Dubaina as a very large tribe in the 
neighbourhood of Kedaref and Kallabat, "second to neither the 
Beni-Amer nor Haddenda 10 ." 

Baker met them and their sheikh 'Adlan wad Sa'id in 1861 with 
the Shukria on the Atbara round Tomat. They were then still a 
considerable tribe owning many cattle and sheep, and at enmity with 
the Ga'aliin refugees of Mek Nimr's family, who were settled on the 
Abyssinian border 11 . In his map Baker shews them as occupying all 

1 Vol. iv, Bk. iv, p. 30; and Vol. in, p. 4; and map ("Dubeno"). 

2 Vol. in, Ch. iv, p. 472. 

3 In Vol. vi, p. 244, however, Bruce speaks of "The Baasa, or Dobena Shan- 

4 Vol. in, Ch. iv, p. 472. 6 Ibid. p. 479. 

6 Vol. iv, Bk. iv, p. 119. 7 Ibid, as quoted, and Bk. vi, Ch. 1, p. 44. 

8 Bruce's editor (Vol. in, Introd. p. 4) says: "To the north of Abyssinia they 
[the Shangalla] are mixed with Arabs, the Beja, and the Below£ [i.e. the Belu] ; in 
which quarter they are called Dubena." 

9 Mansfield Parkyns (map to Vol. 1, and cp. Vol. 11, p. 404) places the " Daveina 
Arabs" between the Rahad and the Atbara, immediately south of the fifteenth 

10 Werne, p. 187. 

11 Baker, pp. 136, 279, 447. Cp. M. Parkyns (11, 404), who speaks of "Abu Jin, 
great chief of the Daveinas." As Abu Gin was head-sheikh of the Hammada we 
must suppose the Dubaina were under the overlordship of that tribe. 


the country between the Rahad and the Atbara to the south of the 

The present habitat of the Dubania is much what it was in the 
time of Bruce and Baker. There are some of them between Kedaref 
and Kallabat; but most of the tribe was extirpated by the Dervishes. 
The survivors are sedentary and poor. A few are at Kedaref with the 
Shukria, and a few survive in the villages that border on the Blue 


XVI The term Fezara is now no longer heard in the Sudan, but to 
the travellers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and perhaps 
even until the " Mahdia" it was the usual denomination of the largest 
group of camel-owning nomads of Kordofan and Darfur 1 . These are 
now much more distinctly divided and each tribe is known by its 
own name. 

Before embarking on details of these tribes we may remark it as 
curious that the Fezara who emigrated from Arabia to Egypt were 
an Isma'ilitic tribe, a branch of Kays 'Aylan, whereas the Guhayna, 
from whom the Fezara group of the Sudan claim descent, were 
Kahtanites and therefore very distantly related indeed to the Fezara 
of Arabia. The apparent anomaly is, however, explained to some 
extent by the fact that the Fezara and the Guhayna have always 
been neighbours in the Hegaz, and probably for that reason took 
part in the same tribal migrations 2 and intermarried with one another. 
Again, some confusion might naturally arise between the two groups 
of Fezara and Guhayna owing to the fact that while a section of 
Guhayna happened to be named Kays and to have one subsection 
called Ghatafan and another in which the names Dhubian and 'Abs 
occur at a comparatively early date, the Fezara were the largest 
section of the Beni Dhubian, who again, with the Beni 'Abs, formed 
the two main branches of the great Ghatafan subtribe of Kays 
'Aylan 3 . But although this similarity of nomenclature may have 
been due to no more than coincidence, it is more probable that it 
betokens the close intimacy of the two tribes and their interrelation 
by marriage. 

Let us take the various Fezara tribes of the Sudan in turn : 

1 El Tunisi's map, e.g., speaks of camel-owning nomads called Fezara com- 
prising the Mahamid, the Meganin, the Beni Gerar, the Beni 'Omran and the 
Messirfa Zurruk. Bruce's map places "Beni Faisara," " Cubbabeesh," and Beni 
Gerar in the Bayuda. 

2 See Part II, Chaps, i and 2. 

3 See Wustenfeld, I and H. and Tree 1 in Part II, above. 

256 THE GUHAYNA GROUP iii.2.xvii. 


XVII Until the latter part of the Turkish period this tribe was 
almost entirely nomadic and to a certain degree it is so still. For 
several generations past a portion of it has been with the Kababish 
of Dongola and a yet larger section with the western Kawahla, who 
until the " Mahdia" were incorporated as a subtribe with the Kaba- 
bish of Kordofan. Both of these outlying Dar Hamid groups remain 
entirely nomadic 1 . 

The remainder of the tribe has built many villages of straw 
"tnkls" in the well-wooded, fertile and undulating district which 
marches to the north with the high, rough country of the Kababish, 
and many of them reside there all the year round cultivating " dukhn " 
or grazing according to the season; but in the " Kharif" a large pro- 
portion of the tribe take their coarse woollen tents and move some 
distance northwards and westwards like the true nomads until the 
rainwater has dried up and they have to return to the villages in and 
around the " Khayrdn." The nomadic character of the tribe made it 
easy in the last century for various Danagla and others to acquire 
possession of many of the basins of the "Khayrdn" which are culti- 
vable by " shaduf" and " sdkia." The Dar Hamid having no interest 
in or knowledge of artificial irrigation only used the wells in the 
"Khayrdn" for watering their flocks, and were content to let others 
grow vegetables. In addition the Danagla were special proteges of 
the Turks and always sure of support if any attempt was made to 
oust them. 

It is hard to say at what period the Dar Hamid took up their 
abode in central Kordofan. It may have been in the first half of the 
sixteenth century, or it may have been earlier, at the time of the 
great southern movement of the Guhayna tribes through Dongola. 

Their ancestor Hamid "el Khuayn" lived, according to their 
"nisbas" from eleven to thirteen generations ago. He and his 
brother Hammad, it is said, came from Egypt and pushed through 
to Darfiir, and their descendants took up their abode partly in Darfur 
and partly in Kordofan. 

XVIII The main divisions of the tribe are the Ferahna, the Haba- 
bin, the Meramra, the Nawahia, the 'Arifia, the Awlad Akoi, the 
Meganin and the Gilaydat; and the parentage attributed to some 
of these by tradition throws some light on the early connections of 
the tribe. The mother of the first two is said to have been from Gebel 

1 The commonest camel-brands of the Dar Hamid Kawahla are the same as 
those of certain of the Meganin branch of Dar Hamid. 

in. 2. xix. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 257 

Mi'dob in northern Darfur 1 ; the mother of the Nawahia 2 a Persian 
from Baghdad whom Hamid found astray : the child she was carrying 
when Hamid found her came to be ancestor of the Baghadda 3 , who 
have several villages among the Dar Hamid. The Awlad Akoi 4 are 
said to be descended from Hamid's brother Hammad, the 'Arifia to 
have come for the most part from Borku, and the Gilaydat to con- 
tain a large element of "slave" or negro. 

It is likely that though the eight tribes of Dar Hamid may have 
been closely connected in antiquity, and are certainly so by inter- 
marriage at present, their being grouped together under a common 
designation was primarily due to their occupying a single tract of 
country under the leadership of a single chieftain: as Pere Jaussen 
says 5 : 

Bien qu'admettant la descendance naturelle d'un seul homme qui 
represente la souche de toute la tribu, les Arabes n'excluent point l'ac- 
croissement de la tribu par adhesion, ni meme une origine par simple 
agglomeration d'entites independantes se reunissant autour d'un cheikh, 
qui donne son nom a tout ce groupe. 

The Ferahna, Hababin, Meramra, Meganin and Nawahia are 
probably of the same original stock, and the remainder, though cog- 
nate to them, may be later accretions. The story of the child who 
became ancestor of the Baghadda is no doubt a symbolical method 
of stating that the forefathers of the Dar Hamid on their way to 
Kordofan and Darfur attached to themselves some of those Bagh- 
adda whom we know to have been settled among the Kanuz between 
Aswan and Haifa 6 . 

XIX Of the history of Dar Hamid until the eighteenth century we 
know nothing. It was perhaps during the first half of it that the 
Meramra under one Kirialo were the ruling section of the tribe 
then camping partly in Kordofan and partly in Darfur. Kirialo fell 
under the displeasure of the Sultan of Darfur on account of his refusal 
to collect the whole tribe round the capital and was imprisoned, and 
his " 'nahds" passed to 'Abd el Hamayd the sheikh of the Awlad 
Akoi. The latter set off with a force of Zaghawa and Kura'an, 
ostensibly to enforce the Sultan's orders, but having once reached 

1 An alternative story as regards the Ferahna is that their name is connected 
with Fara'on (Pharaoh) and that they are mainly descended from Egyptian traders. 

2 The word " Nawahia" is said to be formed from that of " Muhammad Nahi," 
son of Hamid (by Um Kassawayn). 

3 Sing. "Baghdadi." 

4 Cuny's (p. 175) "Arabes Goi." B Pp. 114, 115. 

6 See Burckhardt, p. 26. "Among these [the Kenuz] were also Bedouins of 
the neighbourhood of Baghdad, whose descendants are still known by the name of 

M.S. I. 17 

258 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 2. xix. 

Kordofan he conciliated the Zaghawa and settled them at Kagmar, 
enslaved the Kura'an, and placed himself under the protection of 
the Fung. A general concentration of the Dar Hamid in Kordofan 
followed, and during the period of Fung ascendancy in that province 
the tribe seems to have paid them tribute. 

The " nahds " remained with the Awl ad Akoi for three generations 
after 'Abd el Hamayd, and then passed into the possession of the 
Hababin, who had become the richest and most powerful section of 
the tribe, and whose sheikh Um Beda wad Simawi was their leading 

From Um Beda the "nahds" descended to his sons Tumsah and 
'Abd el Salam 1 and his grandson Simawi "Giraygi'r 2 ." 

It is on account of the chieftainship having been in the hands of 
the Hababin throughout the Turkish period that travellers not un- 
commonly spoke of "the Hababin" when they intended to denote 
the whole of Dar Hamid 3 . 

XX At the present day each of the sections has its own sheikh and 
there is no single head of the tribe with a " nahds." The most nomadic 
of these sections, because the richest in herds, is the Meganin 4 , the 
bulk of whom are on the western confines of Dar Hamid and roam 
almost as far north-west in the rains as do the Kababish and Kawahla. 
It is only lately that they have begun to clear parts of their country 
for cultivation and to form villages and to tap their forests for gum. 
Grazing their cattle and sheep and raiding those of their neighbours 
had long been their only occupations. 

They have now become entirely separate from the rest of the 
tribe 5 , and are still more or less unregenerate. 

A section of the Meganin lives apart round el Hashaba in eastern 
Kordofan and is completely cut off from the rest of the tribe. They 
were first noticed by Baron J. W. von Miiller between 1847 and 1849 6 . 

1 Q.v. Cuny, p. 154. 

2 Slatin's " Grieger." 

3 E.g. M. Parkyns and Cuny (pp. 154, 161, 173). 

4 Sing. "Magnuni" (i.e. "Madman"). A curious example of the cheerful and 
wholesale acceptance by a tribe of a depreciatory nickname (see Andrew Lang, The 
Secret of the Totem, Ch. vi). 

5 They are mentioned by el Tunisi as a large tribe rich in herds and paying 
tribute to Darfur {Voyage au Darfour, p. 87). He includes them and the Mahamid, 
the Beni 'Omran, the Beni Gerar and some of the Messfria Zurruk under the term 
"Fezara" (" Ferara by misprint; see loc. cit. p. 129). Nachtigal (Ouada'i, p. 71) 
alludes to them in Wadai as "de la famille des Mahamid's." Cuny (p. 78) speaks 
of them as a separate tribe and says they, the Ma'alia, the Kababish, the Beni 
Gerar, and the Zayadia, meet at Um el Bahr in northern Kordofan. However, 
when in 1906 their sheikh bought a " ?iahds" for the Meganin, even his own tribe 
regarded his action as presumptuous and would not allow it to be beaten. 

6 Sesjourn. R. G. S. Vol. xx, 1851. 

in. 2. xxii. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 259 

The following are the main sections of the Meganin 1 : 

A. 'Ayadia (i. Awlad Gimi'a 

- 2. „ Gima'a 
I3. „ Gama'i 

B. Hamaydia fi. Tagula 


2. Ray wat 

C. NasTibo 

D. Awlad Madi 

E. Awlad Rumia 

F. Hayadira 

G. Ghadianat 
H. Awlad Sa'id 

I. Awlad Fad Ala fi. Abu Rishayd 

(2. Markuk 
J. Mesa'id 2 

No particular camel brand is distinctive of the whole tribe. Each 
section uses its own, and the subsections add each its own variation 3 . 

XXI The Ferahna are the subtribe of Dar Hamid richest in sheep 
and in land, but they are nearly all sedentary and are regarded as 
" nouveaux riches." They have taken advantage of the fact that many 
of the best " Khayrdn" fall within their boundaries to cultivate them 
by artificial means. Or, maybe, there is some truth in the story of 
their Egyptian connection and for that reason the cultivable basins 
originally fell to them. 

Their subdivisions are as follows : 

El Sherama El Beraykat 

El Tursha 4 El Filiat 

El Akarib El Na'umia 

El Ghubshan El 'Awamra 

Awlad Hizma El Showal 
El Kerimia 

XXII The Hababin 5 and the Meramra are, after the Meganin, the 

1 Some of the smaller subdivisions of these are omitted, but they can be found in 
my Tribes..., p. 129. 

2 The Mesa'id say they are not Meganin at all by origin. The name is merely 
a plural of Mas'ud and not uncommon as a tribal appellation. The best known 
Mesa'id are those settled on the Arabian coast near Muwayla and Gian and there- 
abouts: these are a branch of the Huwaytat (see Burton, Land of Midian, 1, 87 ff.). 

3 See MacMichael, Camel Brands..., p. 27. 

4 The name Turshan occurs in Klippel's list of Egyptian Bedouins : he speaks 
of the Turshan as "d'origine berbere." Sir C. Wilson (p. 4) mentions "Tarshan" 
among the semi-nomadic Arabs north of Aswan. "Turshan" occurs also among 
the Awlad Akoi. 

5 Pallme and Werne confuse the Hababin with the Habbanfa (Bakkara) between 
whom, though the singular of both names is "Habbani," there is no traditional 
connection at all. 

17 — 2 



III. 2. XXII. 

most nomadic sections of Dar Hamid. Both have numerous villages, 
west and east of the Ferahna respectively, but neither own any of 
the " Khayidn." 

The subdivisions of the Hababin are as follows : 

"NAs el Sheikh 1 
Awlad Anis 


„ Sakiran 
„ Zaghawa 
„ Nakur 
Um Sa'adun 
Abu 'Amar 
Awlad WasIk 
El Kiran 
Awlad BilAl 


Awlad Hamid 
,, Selman 
El Fas 
NAs Hamir 
Awlad Milayt 

Awlad Muhammad 

Those of the Meramra are as follows : 

A. Samnia fi. NAs Hadhlul 

„ Ma'afa 2 

„ NUSAR 2 

<J 5. Awlad HAtim 
NAs Bihayl 

8. Abu Tinaytim 

9. DowAshna 

B. Mesabi'h 1. Turku 

C. DAr el Ba'ag (i. GhubshAn 

- 2. NAs Abu 'Ali 
[3. Kurumusi'a 3 

XXIII The Nawahia have between thirty and forty villages north 
of Bara and others farther east near Um Dam : they also own one or 
two of the " Khayrdn." Their subdivisions are as follows: 

A. AwlAd Muhammad 






Awlad 'Agayl 
Awl Ad Sa'ad 
Awlad Keraym 

1 The distinctive brand of this the ruling section is a " Ga'aba Khashm el 
Kelb" ("dog's mouth on the buttock"), i.e. > to the left of the tail (MacMichael, 

2 Both names occur again in almost identical form among the Nawdhia. 

3 Nachtigal gives the Kurumusia as a separate division of the Fezara, together 
with the Zayadia and various Dar Hamid tribes (see Helmolt, p. 585). Other 
Kurumusfa are with the Zayadia at the present day. 

III. 2. XXV. 



El Berabish 1 

Abu 'AlwAn 
Awlad Ferayha 


C. Gamu'ia 



F. AwlAd Gima'An (i. 

G. Awlad 'Abd el DAim 
H. Um Burur 


J. Awlad Ma'Afa 

XXIV The 'Ari'fia were for long in Ddrfur or west of it and have 
absorbed much of the blood of those parts. They are now settled in 
the southern part of Dar Hamid with the GilaydAt to the west of 

Their subdivisions are 2 : 

A. 'Amir fi. 



AwlAd Ramadan 
NAs Um Birsh 

El Khansur 

B. Sanad 


Abu Su'ud 


NAs el Dow 


NAs Kiddu 



'Abd el SAlim 


El HAg 


Abu HammAd 

C. 'Atwa 


NAs Belal 


„ Balul 





Abu Kusayra 


Abu el R6yyAn 

XXV The AwlAd Akoi live to the north-east of the other Dar 
HAmid tribes, in Um Gurfa and eastwards. A portion of them are, 
in addition, permanently nomadic. 
Their subdivisions are : 

Awlad Hamayd 




AwlAd GAma'i 

Awlad Gamu'a 


AwlAd Hammud 

TurshAn 3 

AwlAd Rays 

1 Barth mentions a small Arab tribe of this name living subject to the Hogar 
north of Timbuktu, and identifies them provisionally with the Perorsi of the ancient 
geographers (Barth, Vol. v, App. 1, pp. 464, 465, and map opp. p. 1). 

2 The fourteen subsections given only date from four to six generations ago. 
The three main sections are older. 

3 Cp. sub Ferahna. 

262 THE GUHAYNA GROUP m.2.xxvi. 

XXVI The Gilaydat though classed as Dar Hamid are regarded 
askance by the rest of the tribe. It appears that they represent a 
blend of some of the earliest Arab immigrants to Kordofan with the 
autochthonous negroids. Riippell, Pallme, Parky ns and others class 
them with the Ghodiat and Gawama'a. 

Their present habitat is round Gebel Um " Shidera " {i.e. Shagera) 
on the south-west limits of Dar Hamid. Many Gilaydat were in 
Darfur, between el Fasher and the Hamar country, in Turkish days 1 , 
but since the devastation of the " Mahdia" there have been no more 
than a few of their villages left there, and nearly all that survived 
settled in Kordofan. 

Their subdivisions are as follows : 

Rudana Awlad Walid 

Nasirat Awlad Defin 

Akashia Umbadiri'a 2 

Awlad Erbud Harbia 3 


XXVII The Zayadia also appear from the "nisbas" to be related 
closely to the Fezara group. 

They are frequently mentioned by travellers 4 in the nineteenth 
century as one of the principal tribes of the northern steppes, gener- 
ally in connection with forays on caravans or fights with the 
Kababish, Beni Gerar and Hamar, on the Wadi el Melik and even 
as far east as the Debba-El Haraza route 5 . 

In 1883 the Zayadia of Darfur were assessed for tribute at 
jTe. 2500 and those of Kordofan at £e. 55 only 6 ; but the tribe was 
all but wiped out in the "Mahdia" and now that it has recovered 
some small measure of prosperity the proportion in which it is dis- 
tributed as between Darfur and Kordofan has been reversed on 
account of the persecution to which it was subjected by the Sultan 
'Ali Dinar. A number of the Awlad Gabir and Awlad Mufaddal 
sections still remain round el Mellit and el Sayah, north of el Fasher, 
but between 1904 and 191 3 nearly all the Awlad Gerbu'a fled for 
refuge to Kordofan 7 . They are now settled at Um Gozayn on the 
south-western confines of Dar Hamid, and such of them as have 
any wealth in herds remaining spend the " kharif" in the north- 

1 Burckhardt also mentions them in Darfur in 1814 (Nubia, p. 481). 

2 See note to BA, lxvii. 

3 These were mostly nomadic until the last decade. 

4 E.g. Burckhardt, p. 481. 

5 See Cuny, p. 94. fi See Stewart. 

7 The emigrants of 191 3 were accompanied by a few Gilaydat from Darfur. 




west of Kordofan with their nomad cousins of the Dar Hamid and 
the Shenabla. 

The subdivisions of the Zayadia are as follows : 

A. Awl ad Gerbu'a 

' 4 i 

B. Awl ad Mufaddal 

C. Awl ad Gabir 








NAs Hasan 
„ Adrag 
,, Shok 
„ Sherri 
,, Abu HammAm 


8. NAs el Tom 

9. Nafa'ia 

10. NAs Kirtub 

1 1 . Um Derawa 

12. Awl ad Faris 

13. 'Imayri'a 

14. MlSAMIR 

15. Getarna 

|^l6. KURUMUSIA 3 
















,, I MAMA 

„ Baybush 

,, Zayn 

„ Wafi 

„ Shahawin 


„ Um Gam'un 

'Aial Sabt el Nur 

,, Rikay'a 

,, Abu Mis-him 
awlad tatun 

„ Abu Ma'ali 

„ Hammud 

,, Gubarat 

,, Zayd 

,, Berbush, or Berabish 
Nas Um Gema'a 

The ZAYADfA have no distinctive tribal brand common to all 4 . 

1 Gerbu'a =jerboa. The name "Gerabi'a" (BA, xcvn) appears to be a plural 
formed from Gerbu'a: cp. note in Part III, Chap. 5, para. v. 

2 Others are with the Kababish and with the Gamu'ia (q.v.). 

3 Cp. sub Meramra (above). 

4 See MacMichael, Camel Brands, p. 35, for some of their brands. 

264 THE GUHAYNA GROUP ill. 2. xxvm. 


XXVIII At one time, from the middle of the eighteenth to the 
middle of the nineteenth century, the Beni Gerar and the Hamar 
were the chief antagonists of the Kababish in the grazing grounds 
of northern Kordofan and northern Darfur from the Wadi el Melik 
to Kagmar, and used to raid the caravan roads running from Debba 
to el Haraza and over the Bayuda desert and down the banks of the 
White Nile 1 . 

The name "Fezara" seems to have been more often applied to 
them than to any of the other nomads and it is not unlikely that they 
have some real connection with the Fezara who were in Upper 
Egypt in the fifteenth century 2 . 

As the Beni GerAr were gradually ousted by the other nomads, 
by the Kababish in particular, from Kagmar and the northern steppes 
of Kordofan they tended to move farther south and to take to culti- 
vation, near the White Nile round el Busata and farther inland near 
Kadmul in central Kordofan, while they sent their herds to graze 
round el Tius and to the east of Khorsi. 

At present they have numerous villages in the White Nile Pro- 
vince, and a few round Kadmul. The nomadic portion of the tribe 
remains in Kordofan and accompanies the Kawahla in the rainy 
season. No Beni Gerar are left now in Darfur. 

The main divisions of the tribe are as follows : 




Awlad Hayla 


Awl ad Rabi'a 

1 1 . NAs Musa 

12. Bilaylat 

f 1 - 

NAs el Ahaymer 

2 - 

,, EL SHA'lBA 


Abu Hagul 


,, KhalAfa 


Awlad Barakat 


Gubarat 3 


Nas Abu 'a 


,, Guayd 




Um Simayra 


Nas Salim 

( 6. 

Awlad GltJT 


XXIX The Baza'a are reputed to be very closely related to the Beni 
Gerar, but the connection between the two tribes appears purely 

1 See Bruce, Vol. vi, Ch. x; Browne (p. 325); Cuny (p. 43) and Mansfield 
Parkyns (R. G. S. xx, 254). 

2 See Part II, Chap. 1. 

3 The same name occurs frequently, e.g. among the Bakkara and the Zayddfa. 

in. 2. xxx. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 265 

The former are more sedentary, poorer and less numerous than 
the latter. They have several villages in the gum forests south of 
Gebel Um " Shidera," at Kadmiil, and in the well-less district south 
of Um Dam, where for several months in the year water-melons form 
the sole supply of water,- and near Abu Zabad in western Kordofan. 
A portion of the last-named colony are almost entirely nomadic and 
are. known as the Ga'adia 1 . There are also a few villages of Baza'a 
in eastern Darfur round Gebel Tisoma: a century ago the number 
was greater 2 . 

The subdivisions of the tribe in Kordofan are as follows : 

A. Mahmudia 3 E. Nowakia, or Nowakat 4 

1. Hamdilla 

r i. FArisia 

2. Awlad Nasir 



3. ,, el Ahaymer 

4. Sa'ida 


3. Awlad 'Abd el Rahman 

4. ,, el Bashir 

c. Awlad 'Abd el Mahmud 






Awlad Dan 


'Ayadia, or Abu 'Ayad 







/ 1 . Awlad Hasan 


Um Timan 

{2. „ HUSAYN 




XXX The name Shenabla ("Esshenabele") was noticed by 
Burckhardt in 18 10 as the name of an Arab tribe living in the hills 
near Damascus to the south-east and paying some deference to the 
Druses 5 . Burton says 6 they were notorious thieves and had always 
been so. There are also Shenabla Beduin at the present day in Egypt 
to the east of the river 7 . 

It is therefore probable that the Shenabla of the Sudan are an 
offshoot of the above. 

They are primarily a nomad camel-owning tribe, who graze over 

1 These may perhaps have some connection with the Beni Ga'ad section of 
Ikrima who were round Aswan in the fourteenth century. (See Part II, Chap. 2.) 

2 S.S.W. of Lake Chad, near what is now the eastern border of northern 
Nigeria, Barth met "the Baza, a powerful and independent pagan tribe with a 
language, or probably dialect, of their own, and peculiar customs"; but beyond 
the similarity of the names there would seem nothing to connect these with the 
Baza'a. (See Barth, Vol. 11, Ch. xxxin, p. 409.) 

3 The eponymous ancestor's son married a woman of the Awlad Hawal section 
of Kababish. 

4 Their camel brand is a "nun" (the Arabic letter n) or "naki" on the right 
side. Hence their name. 

5 Burton, Unexplored Syria, 1, 148. Cp. Burckhardt, Notes..., 1, 18. 

6 Ibid. 

7 Klippel, p. 8 ("El Chenablah"). 


the same country as the KawAhla and Dar Hamid in Kordofan, but 
they have in addition numerous settlements near the White Nile. 

According to the " nisbas" they are closely related to the Dar 
Hamid group. It is said that they severed their connection with 
these in the eighteenth century and some took up their abode near 
Shatt and Zerayka, west of the White Nile 1 , and others joined the 
Kababish congeries in the north. 

A few Shenabla also joined the Hamar and are known as the 
Gikhaysat. These are a rich camel-owning section of nomads and 
are to be found from el Odaya to Foga and Um Bel, and in the rains 
farther north. 

The main branch, that which joined the Kababish, remained 
with that tribe until the " Mahdia" and then broke away together 
with the Kawahla, and have since been independent. 

The subtribes of the Shenabla are as follows: 

A. Um Braysh G. AwlAd HawAl 4 
i . 'Amira f i . NAs Merra'i 

la. Ga'aba {2. NAs Ma'ak 

B. Um 'Abdulla H. Hamdia 5 
(i. Goara J. SubayhAt 
-j 2. NAs Guma'a 
[3. NAs Um GAd el Keri'm 

C. AwlAd NAsir 
f 1 . NAs MukAbil 
I2. NAs Nukmusha 

D. AwlAd DAni K. Abu 'Imayr 

E. NAs Had Ad (i. NagAgi'r 
fi. NAs Sallas - 2. TaibAt 
I2. NAs Fenayha [3. NAs Wad Zayn 

F. 'AwAmra 2 L. Awlad Hashun 
. AwlAd FAdil ZowrAb (1. NAs Na'i'm 
. NAs Wad 'Abdulla J 2. Abu Ruppi 
. NAs Wad el Nur j 3. MenAn 
. ShuwayhAt 3 1 4. NAs Gharayra 

The brand used by almost every section of ShenAbla on their 
camels is the " ' kiirbdg" It varies in form but is always placed on 

1 In The Tribes of Northern and Central Kordofan (p. 206) I spoke of some of 
these as joining the Mesallamia. There are some Shenabla in the Mesallamia 
district in the Gezira, but these took their name, it seems, from Shanbul walad 
Medani (q.v. in D J, 79, 80 and 167). These Shenabla (the word is the plural of 
Shanbul, and has a singular "Shanbali," or "Shambali") are alleged locally to 
have some connection with the Hadareb of the Red Sea coast, but evidence of this 
is otherwise lacking. 

2 Cp. sub Rufa'a. 3 Cp. sub Bedayrfa. 

4 Cp. sub Kababish. 

5 Once a section of Abu 'Imayr. 

i . AwlAd Amira 

2. Khami'sAb 

3. NAfa'Ab 

4. KuwiAb 

1,5. NAs Um LAota 

in. 2. xxxi. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 267 

the left leg round the upper joint. The following are its commonest 
forms 1 : .. - > »\ 


XXXI The MA'ALIA. The Ma'alia are related to the Dar Hamid 
group, but have long been entirely independent of it, and at best 
were rather allies attracted by cousinship than brethren who seceded 
from a family league. 

The tribe is divided between Darfur and Kordofan. At the close 
of the Turkish epoch the Ma'alia of Darfur, camel-owners in the 
north and cattle-owners in the south, were assessed for tribute at 
£e. 1450 as compared with £e. 149 charged against the branch in 
Kordofan 1 . The tendency had long been for the latter to decamp 
westwards to evade the oppression of the Turks. But after the dis- 
appearance of the Turkish regime and the subsequent crushing of 
the Dervish revolt a like motive led to a steady infiltration of Ma'alia 
from Darfur into Kordofan. 

By 1916 there were no Ma'alia at all in northern Darfur and 
only a few round their old headquarters at Shakka in the south-east 
or living as refugees among their powerful neighbours the Rizaykat. 
But with the fall of 'Ali Dinar in May, 1916, began yet another return 
movement from Kordofan to Darfur and though the Ma'alia are 
still far more numerous in the former they are anxious to recolonize 
their ancient domains in Darfur and will probably, before long, be 
fairly evenly distributed between the two provinces. In Kordofan 
their chief colony is round Gebel Gleit (Klayt), south of the Meganin 
and west of the other Dar Hamid ; but there are many others settled 
in el Nahud, el Odaya, Um Ruaba 3 , Dilling and el Obeid districts. 
All these are partly sedentary but primarily nomadic. In the rains 
they send their herds north-westwards : in the summer most stay in 
their villages, but the richer folk go southwards in the wake of the 
Bakkara for the sake of the grazing. 

1 A similar brand, viz. \n is used by the Beshr section of 'Anaza of 

I, viz. yj i 

Arabia (Doughty, Arabia Des. i, 125 and 331 ; Zwemer, p. 279). 

2 Stewart. 

3 It would be these of whom Burckhardt heard as living between el Obeid and 
the Shilluk country (Nubia, p. 482). 



III. 2. XXXI. 

The divisions of the tribe in Kordofan are as follows : 

Um HammAd 1 

i . Mukraym (Um Keraym) 


a) Akariba 

b) NAs Farag 

c) Um 'Egayli 

d) Harm a 

e) Dar el KhAdim 

/) AwlAd Um Gima'a 
g) „ Khayara 
h) „ 'AtAalla 
j) „ Um Hamda 


B. Um el HatAsha 

I. KhAWAbIr 2 

, (a) Um Felah 

(b) GUAYL 

(c) Awlad RishdAt 
i(d) Hidayba 

(e) KhawAbir el Humr 
^(/) GenAbla 
((a) Abu Kusayer 
1 etc. 

(/) RishaydAt 

XXXII The Ma'Akla. The Ma'Akla, a smaller and far more seden- 
tary tribe, are counted by the Ma'Alia as subject to them; but the 
two tribes are racially distinct, and in Kordofan the Ma'Akla are 
now independent. Even in Darfur, where their numbers are almost 
negligible, they are attempting to become so. 

The Ma'Akla in Kordofan are subdivided as follows : 





Um SelmAn 


NAs LAzim 
■{ AwlAd Hasabulla 

Dar WAlid 3 

Sherak 3 

RibaydAt 3 

Na'asna 3 

Kelaba 3 

KenAkil 4 

AwlAd Harayz 4 


NAs SellAm 
AwlAd DAhir 
'AiAl Shanbul 
i BishAra 
AwlAd Gima'a 

,, Abu Hammad 
Um Zayada 
'Abd el Habib 

Each of the above sections is theoretically classed as either 
SamA'in or BishAria and there is an " 'omda" of the SamA'in group 
and an "'omda" of the BishAria. But the '"omda" of each group 
has many subjects from among the other and no exact dividing line 
can be drawn. 

1 The Ma'alia would include among these the Ma'akla, who are not really 
Ma'alia at all. 

2 There are none of these in Kordofan. At the end of the " Turkla " they were 
one of the most powerful tribes in Darfur (see Slatin, passim). 

3 Closely connected. 4 In Darfur. 

in. 2. xxxiii. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 269 

The names 'Abadia and Bisharia are noteworthy as suggesting 
eastern connections, and there is actually a tradition among the 
Bisharia that Khadra their ancestress was married by el Hag Bishari, 
"a feki from the East," and that they are not Arabs at all but Bega 
and have many relatives in the eastern deserts. 

There is, however, no reason to assume that the other branch of 
the Ma'akla, the Sama'in, is in any way connected with the Bega or 
that the original Bisharia were anything but foreigners from the 
racial point of view. 

The tribe as a whole claims to be related to the Fezara group 
and appears so in the "nisbas." The only other people I have met 
with bearing the same name are the Ma'akla section of the Beli. 
These are the ruling clan of that tribe both in Egypt and on the 
Arabian coast near Wegh, and it is possible that they may be con- 
nected with the great branch of Beni Hilal called the Ma'akl 1 (per- 
verted in Leo Africanus into "Machill" and by Marmol into "Ma- 
hequil" 2 ), who were by origin Yemenites and had joined the Beni 
Hilal congeries in their great invasion of Barbary. 

Whether there is any connection between the Ma'akla of Kordo- 
fan and these other Ma'akla it is not possible at present to say. 


XXXIII The Dwayhia are a small and unimportant tribe scattered 
from the Nile westwards. 

At the time of the Turkish conquest a colony of them, "fekis" by 
calling, lived at Shibba in Dar el Shaiki'a and were held in great 
repute locally; but when the Shaikia, who had relied upon the 
charms and assurances of these holy men to defeat the invaders, 
found that they had been deceived, they massacred the whole body 
and destroyed their village 3 . 

A few of the Dwayhia are still to be found scattered among the 
Blue Nile villages, at el Mas'iidia for instance; but the main body 
of the tribe — and it is a very small one — is nomadic in habit and 
accompanies the Kawahla in Kordofan throughout the year. 

The chief division of the Dwayh of Kordofan is the Awlad Salati. 
Their camel brand is a " hildl" or crescent moon, a sign also used by 
the Dar Hamid branch of Kababish, on the right side of the neck. 

1 See Ibn Khaldun, ed. ar. Vol. 6, pp. 15, 17 (^ia^JI). 

2 Leo, pp. 142, 150; Marmol, p. 76. 

3 Nicholls, p. 39. 

270 THE GUHAYNA GROUP iii.2.xxxiv. 


XXXIV This tribe claims to be unconnected with the Ga'aliin or 
Guhayna group and to be descended from Abu Bukr el Sadik, 
the first Khalifa of Islam. Hence they, like the Mashaikha, call 
themselves " Bukria." 

From the "nisbas," however, it would seem that they are of 
kindred origin to the Dar HAmid and other " Guhayna." 

They live in the Gezira, where they have given their name to a 
district, and on either side of the White Nile, and on the east side 
of the lower reaches of the Blue Nile. 

The Mesallamia in the Gezira and on the White Nile are 

Among their subdivisions hereabouts are the 'Anafla and 
Washkar, both on the west bank of the White Nile, and, on the 
east bank, Sibaykab, Wanaysab, Meghayrar, Harakira, etc. 

Those east of the Blue Nile now have a few villages, notably Um 
Dubban 1 , and cultivate in the Hasib and other "zoddis" but they 
are chiefly nomadic in their habits, and until about the middle of the 
nineteenth century were entirely so. Their range, however, is not 
great and does not extend beyond the western fringe of the Butana. 
They graze their herds and dig "hafirs" and cultivate some miles 
inland from the river, but have never acquired proprietary rights to 
the river banks of the Blue Nile as have the Rufa'a and the 
immigrant M ah ass. 

Their main wealth is in sheep and goats but they have a fair 
number of cattle and camels also. The latter thev brand with a 

(i hashasha" (hoe) on the neck, thus: 

This nomadic portion of the Mesallamia is subdivided as 
follows : 

{ Khalafulab 


1 Sahalab I Sabrab 

Bambunab vRizkat 


1 Um Dubban is built chiefly of mud. It was founded seventy years ago by 
the head of the Ibrahimab section, father of Sheikh el 'Ebayd Muhammad Badr. 
The latter was a well-known Dervish leader and Kadi of the Khalifa : he died in 
191 5. Um Dubban possesses two imposing " kubbas" containing the remains of 
members of the family. 



The Guhayna Group (continued) 


I The word "Bakkara" means no more than "cattlemen," and it 
is primarily applied to the large group of closely cognate nomadic 
or semi-nomadic Arab tribes inhabiting the rich belt of country 
which may be roughly described as lying south of the thirteenth 
parallel of latitude and stretching from the White Nile to Lake Chad 1 . 

Generally speaking the typical Bakkara at their best are a dark 
lithe people with clearly cut handsome features, hawk-eyed, with 
sparse beards tilted forward and moustaches carefully combed to 
bristle 2 . The young " bloods" roll their hair in tresses back from the 
forehead, but with middle age the habit is discarded 3 . They carry a 
very long-shafted and full-bladed spear. The women and young girls 
ride on bulls and wear great lumps of amber 4 round their necks and 
bosses of silver across the forehead. Their hair is brought straight 
forward in braids on the crown of the head and rolled back into a 
fringe across the forehead. Large earrings and nose-rings are also 
worn. They evince little shyness and do not affect the exaggerated 
modesty and secretiveness which has spread from Egypt along the 
banks of the Nile. On the contrary, the girls, though never exceeding 
the bounds of decency, and wearing a " rahad" or a long flap of cloth 
before and behind, habitually display breasts and thighs to all the 
world 5 . 

Among the men it is very frequent to note a cast of face that with 

1 The term Bakkara is sometimes applied, quite legitimately, to various other 
cattle-ownmg tribes such as the Kenana, the Hasania, the Bedayria of Kordofan, 
the Ma'alia, etc. ; but these, belonging to quite different groups, are only occasionally 
spoken of as Bakkara, and that with special reference to their cattle. The term 
Bakkara in the Sudan, when used in a general sense, is always taken to mean the 
tribes dealt with in this chapter — the Bakkara par excellence. 

2 A small comb for the beard and moustache is worn hanging round the neck. 

3 Browne (p. 466, App. 11) speaking of the Messfria says they " comb their hair 
back, twist it, and fasten it in the form of a scorpion's tail behind": a good 

4 A fashion common also to the Kanembu. " Les femmes Kanembou aiment 
beaucoup l'ambre comme parure et, suivant leurs ressources, les morceaux d'ambre 
dont se composent leurs colliers sont plus ou moins gros" (Carbou, 1, 39, 40). 
Compare Denham, Clapperton and Oudney's description of the Shawfa Arabs of 
Bornu coming to market on their bulls (Narrative, p. 167). 

5 For a good account of the Bakkara mode of life see Pallme's sixth chapter. 

272 THE GUHAYNA GROUP m. 3. 1. 

its high protruding forehead, wide mouth and weak chin at once 
suggests the Fellata, and it is an established fact that large numbers 
of that race have become incorporated with the Bakkara tribes since 
they first settled in Central Africa. This is of course more especially 
true of the Salamat and Haymad, the most westernly Bakkara, who 
live among a population that is largely Fellata 1 and who appear to 
include sections of that people 2 ; but it also applies to the more 
easternly Bakkara as we shall see in dealing with the Hawazma. 

II As a whole the Bakkara are, with the possible exception of the 
Shaikia, the most warlike Arabs in the Sudan : they are also the most 
inveterate slave traders and raiders, and living as they do on the 
northern confines of the negro country they have indulged their pre- 
datory propensities ad libitum for so long as they have not been 
repressed by the firm hand of the Government. 

The same qualities that have made them bold fighters and hunters 
have at all times since their settlement in Africa brought them into 
collision with the rulers of the more sedentary people who inhabit 
the zone immediately north of them, with the Sultans and Meks, that 
is, of Bornu, Wadai, Darfur and Kordofan. 

In the dry season of the year the Bakkara move with all their 
cattle to the rivers of the south and there hunt the elephant and raid 
the negroes, but when the rains render the southern Bakkara country 
a swamp of cotton-soil infested by the fly they move northwards to 
the clean pastures of the higher ground and cultivate or graze their 
herds. It is then that they have been apt to become involved in 
quarrels with the sedentary people of the Sultanates. 

They have not, however, been invariably successful, except in so 
far as a perennial evasion of the full tribute demanded may be 
counted success, and in consequence they have at different periods 
migrated eastwards or westwards along the line of least resistance 
and various sections have been transplanted from place to place and 
from tribe to tribe until it is impossible to say how they were originally 
grouped. In the account which follows I have taken as the units the 
tribes as they appear at present and specified the various sections 
subject to each, but it will be at once obvious from a comparison of 
the lists of these sections and from a study of the past history of the 
Bakkara that no real racial dividing line can be drawn between any 
one tribe of them and any other. 

In Kordofan, where, if one omit the brief orgy of the " Mahdia" 
there has been a settled Government for nearly a century, the 

1 Carbou, n, 51. 

2 See Chevalier, Afrique centrale frangaise, p. 321, quoted by Carbou, II, 60. 

in. 3. iv. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 273 

Bakkara tribes have crystallised into more or less permanent shape, 
but in Darfur, where the old conditions prevailed until the deposition 
of 'Ali Dinar in 191 6, the old process continued in a marked degree and 
many families of other tribes were continually seeking the protection 
of the powerful Rizaykat, while others, such as the Beni Helba, 
decamped into Wadai. The occupation of Darfur was the signal for 
most of these Beni Helba and other refugees to start returning to 
their previous pasturing grounds. 

The Bakkara are seen at their best in Kordofan, where the type 
has remained virile and independent. They are probably at their 
worst in Darfur, the Rizaykat excepted, for there they have been 
consistently oppressed and robbed and have become half sedentary, 
dirty, lazy and mentally inert. 

III The present distribution of the Bakkara is as follows: on the 
extreme east, on the banks of the White Nile, are the Beni Selim. 
In Kordofan, from east to west, are the Awl ad Hamayd and a branch 
of the Darfur Habbania, both living south of Um Ruaba and round 
Tekali. Then the Hawazma, between El Obeid Dilling and Talodi 1 ; 
then the Messi'ria, south of Abu Zabad ; and, lastly, the Humr between 
El Odaya and the Bahr el 'Arab. 

In southern Darfur are the Rizaykat, comprising the Mahamid 
Mahria and Nawaiba, the Habbania, the Ta'ai'sha, the Beni Helba 
and a few Beni Khuzam; and farther north some Messi'ria, Ta'elba, 
or Tha'aliba, Hotia, Sa'ada, Tergam, Beni Husayn and Bashir. 

In Wadai, Bornu and Bakirmi are Beni Helba, Beni Khuzam, 
Nawaiba, Beni Rashid (Rowashda) and Ziud, and the Salamat. 

IV The writers of the "nisbas" were riverain folk and evidently 
knew little of the distant Bakkara: they either omit them or per- 
functorily allot to them some more than usually shadowy ancestor; 
but the general impression one receives from the traditional gene- 
alogies is probably a correct one, namely, that the Bakkara and the 
camel-owning Fezara group to the north are both branches of the 
same great "Guhayna 2 ''' group, and that, furthermore, the non- 
Fezara portion of this group are not all Bakkara but divided in the 
case of each tribe into cattle-owners in the south and camel-owners 
in the north. Thus it arises that, for instance, the Mahamid and the 
Mahria are independent nomad tribes of camel-owners in northern 
Darfur and Wadai, while other Mahamid and Mahria compose two- 
thirds of the Rizaykat in southern Darfur. It is easy to see how this 

1 There is also a small colony of them in the Fama district of the Upper Nile 
Province (A. E. Sudan, I, 196). 

2 It will be seen that the term " Guhayna" is loosely used to include a number 
of connected Arabian tribes, particularly Harb. 

M. S. I 18 

274 THE GUHAYNA GROUP ni. 3. iv. 

may have happened. When the Arabs entered the central states 1 
they came no doubt with their camels and sheep : cattle they presum- 
ably had none, or but few. As they would have been a nuisance to 
the sedentary population cultivating the central belt and would have 
had themselves no security for their herds, they naturally gravitated, 
some to the more barren spaces of the north, and some to the forests 
and bogs of the south. The camel of course cannot exist in the south 
because of the tsetse fly and the poisonous "gullum" creeper, and 
such Arabs as went there imitated the indigenous population and 
took to cattle-rearing 2 . This is merely suggested as one way in which 
the tribes may have been divided, but there is no reason to suppose 
that other causes which are readily imaginable did not also operate to 
the same end. The southern group intermarried with the older negro 
inhabitants and became darker in complexion: the northern group 
mixed in the west to some extent with the Tibbu tribes but remain 
very much lighter. 

V An interesting point may now be discussed. Did the Bakkara 
reach their present habitat by way of the Nile or did they come due 
south or south-east to the Chad region and Bornu and Wadai from 
North Africa, and thence spread eastwards to the Nile? 

The fact that 'Abdulla el Guhani is generally regarded by them- 
selves as their ancestor, and the fact that they consider the Fezara 
group as their cousins 3 , are obviously arguments in favour of the 
former view: so also is the evidence of the Sudanese "nisbas," which 
make no suggestion of a south-easternly migration. On the other 
hand, the "'Abdulla el Guhani" tradition might simply have been 
appropriated from immigrants from the Nile, and some of the Bak- 
kara do state that their ancestors came direct from Tunis or Fezzan 
with their camels to the countries west of Darfur 4 , and in giving 
their genealogy 5 or history others say of some particular forebear: 
"It was he who brought the tribe from Borku" [i.e. Wadai: s.c. to 
Kordofan], and these forebears are, as a rule, said to have lived from 
five to nine generations ago and to be the sons of the eponymous 
ancestors of the various sections. 

But though there is no room for doubting that considerable 

1 They seem to have established themselves by "peaceful penetration" rather 
than by force of arms. 

2 The Hawazma, e.g., told me their ancestors originally "bought a bull and a 
cow from a Fellati pilgrim." 

3 See genealogical trees at the end of this chapter. 

4 E.g. see MacMichael, Tribes..., pp. 146, 151. 

5 I have never seen a manuscript Bakkara pedigree, but have written down 
several from oral information and seen several others so compiled. No two ever 
agree in every respect, but the degree of coincidence is remarkable. 

in. 3. v. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 275 

numbers of Arabs did push southwards from Tunis Algiers and 
Morocco to Central Africa in the centuries following the Hilalian 
invasion of North Africa 1 , and though one may admit that the pre- 
valence of the Abu Zayd el Hilali tradition among the Bakkara is a 
little suggestive, we have the definite statement of Ibn Khaldun that 
in the first half of the fourteenth century the Guhayna swarmed over 
Nubia and rapidly pushed farther afield "following the rainfall 2 ," 
and modern expert opinion has heavily preponderated in favour of 
the view that the Bakkara came from the east. For instance, Barth 
says 3 of the Shoa (Shawia)— the name given locally to the semi- 
sedentary Bakkara Arabs of Bornu Bakirmi and Chad, and par- 
ticularly to the Salamat : 

Of the migration of these Arabs from the east there cannot be the 
least doubt. They have advanced gradually through the eastern part of 
Negroland.... Their dialect is quite different from the Maghrebi, while in 
many respects it still preserves the purity and eloquence of the language of 
Hijaz.... These Shuwa are divided into many distinct families or clans, and 
altogether may form in Bornu a population of from 200,000 to 250,000 souls. 

He adds that they appear to have immigrated gradually from the 
east from very early times, "although at present we have no direct 
historical proofs of the presence of these Arabs in Bornu before the 
time of Edris Alawoma" (1571-1603); and he mentions the systems 
of blood-money (" dhia" — which by the way maintains among all 
the nomad Arabs of the Sudan) and infibulation of females as con- 
necting the Salamat-Shoa with the east 4 . Similarly M. Carbou, who 
divides the Shoa into two groups, one from the north and the other, 
the "Guhayna" group, from the east, also remarks 5 that the use of 
the word "Nuba" for "all indigenous non-Arab Muhammadans " 
lends weight to the current tradition of an early sojourn in what 
is now the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan 6 . In the same way the habit 
in use among the western Arabs of denoting the Kanembu as 
"Hamag 7 " points as clearly to a connection with the "Tribes of 

1 Q.v. in Part II. The Arabs of Bornu, Bakirmi and Chad district — chiefly semi- 
sedentary Bakkara — are called Shoa, or Shawia (Barth, "Shuwa" and "Shiwa") 
by the indigenous tribes. 

2 See p. 139, above. 

s Vol. 11, Ch. xxxii, pp. 355-356. 4 Vol. in, Ch. lii, p. 465. 

5 Vol. 11, pp. 4, 8, 9, 20, 28, 48. 6 Carbou, 11, 47. 

7 Ibid. I, 36. Carbou is apparently unaware of the existence of a tribe called 
Hamag in the eastern Sudan and therefore fails to explain the term. So, too, 
Nachtigal (Voy. an Ouaddi, p. 74) says "Les Hammedj's sont les derniers auto- 
chtones du Kanem. lis sont de la famille des Boulala's " — also, it seems, in ignorance 
of the Hamag of Sennar. There is no evidence of a Hamag movement from east 
to west or vice versa at any time and the term Hamag was probably no more than 
an Arab importation, used to denote any uncivilized people. An exactly similar 
use of the word occurs in MS. C 3 11. 


Guhayna" who in the sixteenth century had "reached a total of 
fifty-two tribes in the land of Soba on the Blue Nile under the rule 
of the Fung," though most of them were " in the west 1 ." 

The main "Guhayna" group having come from the east as 
camel-owners and shepherds in the fourteenth and following cen- 
turies appear to have straightway pushed as far westwards as Bornu, 
but how long elapsed before branches of them moved farther south 
and became Bakkara we do not know. 

In Kordofan these latter groups had been anticipated by the 
Ga'ali group from Dongola, who had settled round el Rahad and 
el Birka and intermarried with the Nuba, and it may be that the 
' Guhayna" Arabs first became cattle-breeders in the countries west 
of Kordofan. But at a later date, five to eight generations ago, there 
was a return movement eastwards caused by adverse political con- 
ditions in the west, and various Bakkara groups migrated to join 
their kin in southern Kordofan. 

The Bakkara of the west, however, have been joined by arabicized 
Berbers from North Africa, and it may have been the presence of 
these latter that has given rise to the doubtful tradition that the 
Bakkara came not from the Nile but from Tunis. At all events it 
was presumably the difficulty of embodying into their traditions both 
the Abu Zayd el Hilali (Tunis) connection and also the real fact of 
their original migration from the Nile that gave birth to the apocry- 
phal "Great Trek" of Abu Zayd from the east over the Blue and 
White Niles and Kordofan 2 . 
VI Let us now take the Bakkara tribes separately, from east to 



Of the Beni Seli'm of the White Nile the "nisbas" can tell us 
nothing of any interest. Their country at present extends nearly as 
far south as Kaka 3 , and thus lies north of that of the Shilluk and the 
Dinka and south of that of the Ahamda, but it is probably only 
within the last two centuries that they have been able to dominate 
the river banks at the expense of the two former tribes. 

In the rains the fly drives them northwards, or eastwards over 
the river 4 . 

They mix largely with the Dinka, and not being cultivators them- 
selves rely upon them and the Shilluk for their grain supply 5 . 

Though Bakkara, they have taken, no doubt since their move- 
ment to the river, to breeding more sheep than cattle. 

1 See p. 139. a See MacMichael, Tribes..., Chap. II. 

3 Anglo-Eg. Sudan, 1, 130. * Ibid. 1, 64. 5 Ibid. 1, 196. 

in. 3. vii. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 277 

Their two main divisions are the Um Tarif and the Awlad 
Mahbub 1 . 


VII The Awlad Hamayd round Tekali claim to be descended 
through el Gunayd, the usual Bakkara ancestor, from Babikr walad 
el 'Abbas, a Ga'ali immigrant to Kordofan. The pedigree they pro- 
duce in support of this claim is as follows 2 : 




' I 
El Gunayd 

Hamayd Habban Hamid 

(AWLAD HAMAYD (Habbania) (Ahamda) 








Baivui Buiaia 

El Ayyan 

I I I I I 

Askar Ahmad Abdulla Ghonaym Muhammad 

El 'Ayyan, they say, was the first "ndzir" of the tribe and he 
seems to have lived about the time of the Turkish conquest, i.e. 1821. 
His eighth successor, Dedan, was "ndzir" at the time of the Dervish 
revolt (1881). 

The generations as given previous to el Gunayd are presumably 
based on pure invention and the desire for relationship with Kuraysh, 
and those immediately following him are little better. 

But "Baivui" and "Buiaia" are not names that any Arab would 
invent: they have a strong Nuba ring and are probably authentic 3 . 
The name of el Gunayd and the close connection of the Awlad 
Hamayd with the Habbania are reminiscences of the usual Bakkara 

1 Anglo-Eg. Sudan I, 130. Of their history I know nothing. Petherick records an 
expedition sent in 1858 from Kordofan against them by the Turks on account of 
their non-payment of tribute. Several thousands of cattle were taken ( Upper Egypt. . . , 
pp. 299, 320). 

2 Supplied to me by Capt. M.J. Wheatley, in 191 3 Inspector of Tekali district. 

3 The name Buiaia occurs again as that of el Ayyan's great-grandson. 

278 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 3. vn. 

trees, which almost always group these two tribes and the Ta'aisha 

Nachtigal gives some account of the Awl ad Hamayd 1 of Wadai and 
Bornu. They were alleged to be closely connected with the Bulala. 

Quand cette tribu, venant de l'Est, emigra au Soudan, une fraction 
demeura au Kordofan, une au Ouada'i, une se fixa au Bahr-el-Ghazal 2 , 
une enfin au Baguirmi et au Fitri. C'est cette derniere fraction qui fut le 
noyau du grand etat qui reunit un jour les territoires des Kouka's, du 
Fitri et du Kanem. Cette fraction des Oulad Hamed, devenue tout a fait 
sedentaire, s'etait alliee aux Kouka's et en avait adopte le langage (Tar lisi), 
ce qui n'empechait la langue arabe d'etre restee extremement repandue. 

It seems, then, that the substratum of the Awlad Hamayd of 
Kordofan is in part Bakkara, akin to that of the Ta'aisha and Hab- 
bania, and in part Nuba of the Tekali type. Their Arab ancestors 
may have settled round Tekali at the time of the great Guhayna 
movement, and they have been reinforced by others of their kin who 
have returned from the western countries whither they had gone at 
the time that the Kordofan settlement first occurred. As in the case 
of the ruling family at Tekali 3 , these Awlad Hamayd may have ab- 
sorbed a slight element of the Dongolawi — sufficient at least to make 
them aspire to a Ga'ali pedigree — and they certainly intermarried 
with, or included into their particular group, various families of 
other Bakkara. 

The Turkish period provides no more than traditions of grazing 
disputes and desultory fighting between the Awlad Hamayd the 
Habbania and the Halafa section of the Hawazma. The eventual 
result was unfavourable to the first-named tribe and by the date of 
the outbreak of the Dervish revolt they had lost many of their fighting 
men and a large proportion of their herds. They attempted to resist 
the Mahdi at first but were easily crushed, and what was left of the 
tribe joined the Dervishes. 

It was not until the reoccupation of the Sudan that the scattered 
remnants of the tribe returned to their ancient haunts and were able 
to re-form. 


VIII The Habbania who live between el Rahad and Sherkayla are 
a branch of the Darfur tribe of the same name and immigrated from 
Kalaka, which is still the headquarters of the main tribe, some four 
or five generations ago. 

1 "Oulad Hamed — ou Oulad Homeid, dans certaines regions — " (Voy. au 
Ouada'i, p. 13). 

2 Not the Bahr el Ghazal of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan of course. 

3 See MS. "A 7." 

III. 3. VIII. 



Both in Kordofan and Darfur they have numerous villages and 
are less nomadic than the average tribe of Bakkara. In the tribal 
"nisbas" they are always connected closely with the Ta'aisha 1 . The 
Kordofan section, previously to the Mahdia, were generally at logger- 
heads either with the Gawama'a, the Gima'a, the Hawazma and the 
Awlad Hamayd, or with the people of Tekali. 

In 1876 their numbers were assessed at about 8000 2 : in 1881, 
when the tribute was reassessed, £e. 215 were demanded from the 
Kordofan branch as against £e. 2640 from those in Darfur 3 , but 
immigration in recent years, particularly by the Riafa section, has 
tended to equalise the numbers of the two branches. 

The main tribe in Darfur border on the Rizaykat to the east, the 
Ta'aisha to the west, the Masalat to the north and the Dinka to 
the south. Their country resembles Dar Humr and Dar Rizaykat in 
general, but, extending farther south, suffers more from fly and is 
more marshy. They cultivate less corn than the Bakkara living east 
of them and rely largely on wild rice and " dkifra" (Pannicum 
Isachne). Elephant hunting is much in vogue among them. 

As a tribe they are divided into Tara and Sot 4 , but the subtribes 
of the latter seem to be known collectively as el Zi'adat. There is no 
particular line of cleavage between the Darfur and Kordofan portions 
of the tribe and most, if not all, of the following sections are common 
to both. 

A. Tara 


Shebba 5 f 

(a) Awlad Hamayd 
j (b) Noala 

(c) Hawaila 

(d) Mirayrat 

(e) Hilaylat 
(/) Selmania 
(g) Awlad Sa'ud 


((a) Awlad Delota 
- (b) Um 'Arab 
((c) Awlad Ma'afa 

a) Awlad 'Aid 

b) ,, Zaid 

c) „ Abu 'Amir 

d) „ Gargar 

e) El Derabin 
/) Awlad Bello 
g) El Kamarsa 

h) Awlad Rihayma 

j) Awlad Idris, or Um Idri's 

k) El Kigama 

/) El Mahada 6 

m) El Hadayli 

1 Cp. Carbou, II, 51, 54, where the Habbanfa and Ta'aisha are similarly referred 
to as being both subtribes of "H£mat" (i.e. Haymad). 

2 Prout. 3 Stewart. 

4 The tara is properly a cymbal, the sot a whip. Both occur as names of camel 
brands. The former is shaped £* and placed on the neck of a camel, the latter is 
a long perpendicular line branded on the quarters, from the backbone downwards, 
like a hanging whip. (See MacMichael, Camel Brands..., figs. 113, 114, 117.) The 
terms presumably date back to the time when the Habbania were camel-owners. 
Compare the case of the Ta'aisha. 

5 These twelve small sections, all occurring in Kordofan, all belong either to the 
Shebba or the Shaybun branches. 6 See note on p. 83. 



III. 3. VIII. 




/(a) AwlAd Abu 'Ayad 

(b) El FeraygAt 

(c) Awlad Abu NigAd 
\(d) ,, Sa'adAn 

(e) NAs Kelbi 
^(/) El MesA'id 

Shabul 1 

(a) KenAt, or KenayAt 

(b) AwlAd Borkowi 

(c) „ Abu 'Ali 

(d) El BedArin 

2 j (a) AwlAd Um Sunta 
\(b) „ Sa'adAn 


IX The HawAzma are perhaps more mixed with purely extraneous 
elements than any other BakkAra tribe, as the " nisba "-writers knew 3 , 
and this is due to the fact that during the greater part of the year they 
live among the villages of Bedayria and other semi-Arab peoples in 
the country lying immediately north of the Nuba hills. Of the three 
main divisions of the tribe one, the Halafa, is little more than a 
league 4 of families of TakArir 5 from the west, GellAba HowAra 
and ZenAra from the north 6 , GawAma'a and Nuba, who in the days 
of the Fung desired to pasture their cattle under the protection and 
the name of the HawAzma. The large and once powerful Asirra 
section are in Kordofan reckoned to be Bedayria. 

There would seem to be some connection between the true 
original HawAzma and the Beni Harb of the Hegaz, who are neigh- 
bours of the Guhayna and the supposition may in that case apply 
equally to most of the BakkAra. As evidence of this connection the 
following passage from Burton's Pilgrimage 7 may be cited : 

The Benu Harb is now the ruling clan in the Holy Land. It is divided 
by genealogists into two great bodies, first, the Banu Salim, and, secondly, 

1 A section of the same name occurs among the Manasir, and the best known 
brand of the Hamar Gharaysfa and of the Towal Kababfsh is also called the 

2 These two small sections, both in Kordofan, belong either to the Riafa or the 

3 Cp. in particular D i cxxxiv. 

4 Hence their name. They sealed the alliance with an oath (i.e. lyU.^. " halafu "). 
For precisely the same custom in Arabia see Robertson Smith, p. 45. 

5 Many villages of Fellata and Takarfr are scattered in the Bedayria-Hawazma 
country south of el Obeid. 

6 Both tribes are originally connected with the North African Berbers. The 
Zenara were a branch of the Luata. For the Howara see Part II, Ch. 1, App. 

7 11, 120; and cp. 11, 28, and 1, 231, where the "Howazim" are also mentioned 
as a turbulent section of Harb near Medina. Doughty (Wanderings..., 11, 135) also 
mentions "Hazim, an ancient fendy of Harb...snibbed as Heteym." 

in. 3. ix. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 281 

the Masruh, or "roaming tribes." The Banu Salim, again, have eight sub- 
divisions, viz.: 

1. Ahamidah (Ahmadi)....It is said to contain about 3500 men. Its 

principal sub-clan is the Hadari. 

2. Hawazim (Hazimi), the rival tribe, 3000 in number: it is again 

divided into Muzayni and Zahiri. 

6. Mahamid (Mahmadi), 8000. 

7. Rahalah (Rihayli), 1000. 

8. Timam (Tamimi). 

The mere occurrence of the name "Hawazim," or Hawazma 
{sing. Hazmi), might be a mere coincidence, but when we find in 
conjunction with it Ahamda 1 and Mahamid 2 , both names of Bakkara 
or semi-BAKKARA tribes, and "Rahalah," which is evidently the 
same as Rowahla {sing. Rahli), one of the subtribes of the KabAbish 
(among whom, as we shall see, the 'Atawia also are ancestrally 
connected with the Bakkara), and realize that Ahamda, Mahamid, 
Hawazma and Rowahla are all important groups in Kordofan, 
and that KabAbish and Bakkara alike claim descent from 'Abdulla 
el Guhani, not to mention the obvious similarity, if not the 
identity, between the names of Burton's "Banu Salim" and the 
Beni Selim Bakkara of the White Nile, there seems small room for 
doubt that the Bakkara tribes of the Sudan contain numerous ele- 
ments that are also common to the Beni Harb of the Hegaz 3 . The 
latter are an Isma'ilitic tribe, originally a section of HawAzin, who, 
again, are a branch of Kays 'AylAn 4 . In proof that some of them 
did come to Egypt one may quote Sir J. G. Wilkinson. In his list 
of Arab tribes east of the Nile the names of "Billee" (Beli), "Ge- 
haynee" (Guhayna) and "Harb" occur in close proximity 5 . 

The fact that the Prophet once said " Of a truth among the Arabs 
the worst names are the Beni Kelb and the Beni Harb 6 " may explain 

1 The singular of Ahamda : ~ the Sudan is Hammadi and not Ahmadi. 

2 The singular of Mahamid in the Sudan is Mahmudi and not Mahmadi. 

3 Makrfzi (ap. Quatremere, n, 191) mentions Awlad Hazm as a section of the 
Sinbis branch of Tai in Egypt, and it is conceivable that the original Hawazma, or 
Hawazim, were a branch of Tai, the tribe with which the Messfria are also said to 
be connected. See Wiistenfeld, Tab. 6, where "Hizmir" refers to the same person 
as does Quatremere 's better reading of "Hazm" {i.e. joj.a-. for j.aja.), and where 
"el Maschr" (i.e. jAJ\, "el Mashr" (Mishir?)), the son of Tha'aliba and great- 
great-grandson of Nebhan, seems to correspond to " Messir " the traditional ancestor 
of the Messfria, who appears also in the nisbas as son of Tha'aliba and great-great- 
grandson of "Nebhan, a section of Tai" (D 1, vn). Possibly, then, while certain 
Beni Tai detached themselves from the main tribe to wander southwards into the 
Sudan, others joined the Guhayna or the Harb; or possibly the opposite occurred 
and the Hawazma broke away from their parent stem to join the Tai: almost any 
similar permutation is indeed within the bounds of possibility. 

4 Wiistenfeld, D and F. 5 Modern Egypt..., II, 380. 
6 See Burton, Pilgrimage..., 1, 247. 



III. 3. IX 

why it is that the BakkAra in general, and the HawAzma in particular, 
preserve no record or tradition of connection with the Beni Harb. 

X The present divisions of the Hawazma, all of whom are in 
Kordofan, are as follows. It will be noticed that there are none of 
those coincidences of nomenclature between them and the Bakkara 
living farther west which would show that overlapping and inter- 
penetration had occurred among the two parties. Such elements in 
the Hawazma as are not original have been absorbed by them in 
eastern and southern Kordofan. 

A. 'Abd el 'Ali 

Dar Gawad 



3. Dar Bayti 

4. Dar Na'ayli 


Dar 'Ali 
Dar FAid 
El Asirra 

{(a) Dar Bakhoti 
\ (b) Dar Shalango 

(a) DAr Bat' ha 

(b) AwlAd Ba'ashom 1 

(c) Dar Debl 

(d) El Ma'anAt 

(e) AwlAd GamA'a 

f (a) AwlAd Abu Adam 
\ (b) El Kura'An 



J (c) 


AwlAd Ghonaym ((a) 


.5. El T6g*a 


. DAr GamA'i 

Um wad GAza 
AwlAd Gomer 
El Zurruk 
AwlAd Mesheri 
,, SerrAr 
„ Ma' ad a 
DAr Iga 
-| (b) AwlAd Tadu 
c) Dar Tangal 



2. AwlAd Nuba 3 

3. Delamia 

[{a) ElTowAl 2 
\(b) ElKusAr 2 
1 (a) AwlAd Rahma 
- lb) DAr BilAl 
[(c) El Fukara 

(a) Awlad Tayna 

(b) SulaymAnia 

(c) Um Maginda 

(d) Dar 'Agul 
,(e) El Muminin 

1 Ba'ash6m= a jackal. 2 "Towal" =long; 

3 Nuba is said to have been son of Sanin son of Kashama. 

Kusar" = short. 

in. 3. x. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 283 

The 'Abd el 'Ali section, like the Rizaykat, Messiria and Humr, 
generally claim to be descended from 'Ati'a and say they are the true 
original Hawazma. This may well be so : a distinction is commonly 
drawn, as the trees show, between the descendants of Gunayd through 
'Ati'a on the one hand and through Haymad 1 on the other, the 
Ta'aisha, the Habbani'a and the Beni Helba falling into the latter 
group and the Humr, Rizaykat, Messiria and Hawazma into the 
former; but the 'Abd el 'Ali of course contain many alien elements, 
e.g. "el Kura'an," like every other subtribe of Bakkara. 

Of the Halafa we have already spoken. 

The Rowowga are alleged by the other Hawazma for the most 
part not to belong to the tribe at all, by descent that is, but to be in 
part Beni Seli'm and in part Ken ana, and to have come at some 
distant period from the east and joined the 'Abd el 'Ali. They 
probably contain more Nuba blood than most of the other sections. 
Not only is one of their main divisions called Awlad Nuba but 
their names are suggestive: for instance, the head sheikh of the 
Rowowga, Daud el Mamun, gave the following pedigree in 1913 
to a Government Inspector 2 : 

El Lieu 


Hamid Abu Kitr 

I , 

I I I 

Karongo Daud Gabrfl 

I I I 

Kakidri 'Ali Koko 

I I I 

Tawwar Mamun Mohanna 

I . I 

Somi Daud 

"Karongo," "Kakidri" and "Koko" are obvious Nuba names, and 
"el Lieu" is certainly not Arabic. 

We obtain a distinct indication of the approximate date at which 
the Hawazma first broke away from the parent stem by examining 
the pedigrees of the present generation. The names of the eponymous 
ancestors of the main sections are quoted as those of sons, grandsons 
or great-grandsons of the original "Hazim," and are generally re- 
membered by all, though the exact relationship of each to other is 
not ; but it is each man's own business to know how he is connected 

1 M. Carbou (n, 51-74) speaks of the Haymad ("H6mat") as the most important 
division of Bakkara descended from Gunayd. He gives their subtribes as following: 
"Oulad Hemed [Hamayd?], Oulad 'Amer, Noumourra, Djerarha, Selmaniye, 
Ta'acha, Nedjmiye et Habbaniye," and adds "Aux H£mat se rattachent encore: 
les Dja'adne, les Salamat, qui constituent une des tribus arabes les plus nombreuses 
de l'Afrique Centrale et les Khouzam." 

2 Capt. A. L. Hadow. 


with this family of traditional ancestors. To take the case of four 
prominent Hawazma 1 : one in his pedigree gives eight generations 
as interposing between himself and "Delam" the eponymous an- 
cestor of the Delamia, one gives six and one varies between seven 
and eight. So among the Awlad Nuba seven generations are said to 
have lived between the present sheikh and " Nuba." One may guess 
that until seven or eight generations, or 200 to 300 years ago, the 
Hawazma did not exist as a separate tribe, but that the ancestors of 
the non-alien element among them were counted (e.g.) Messiria until 
they became numerous and powerful enough to break away and call 
themselves Hawazma. 


XI The MessIria and Humr were at one time a single tribe and 
known respectively as the Messiria Zurruk ("dark") and the Mes- 
sfRiA Humr ("red" 2 ). 

One finds them as a rule so referred to in the works of travellers 
who met them in the nineteenth century in Darfur and west of it 3 . 

In Kordofan, however, the two divisions have become so dis- 
tinct that the Humr no longer rate themselves Messiria at all, and 
each tribe has its own " ddr" and its own sheikhs. 

XII I^UMR. The Humr are divided into the Agaira and the Felaita, 
and these two independent divisions are again subdivided as follows 4 : 

The Agaira 
A. 'Aial Khayr 

1 . Awlad Kamil / (a) DAr Muta 

(b) ,, Um Shayba 

(c) ,, Salim 
< (d) Awlad Kimayl el f (i) Um Sallog 

Hamra ((2) Um Ga'ar 

(e) El Fakarin 
V(/) Awlad Tuba 

1 Taken from Capt. A. L. Hadow's notes. 

2 This subdivision of Arabs into Humr and Zurruk is not confined to the Mes- 
siria (see Barth, Vol. ill, App. 7). It may have coincided originally with the division 
into northern and southern, camel-owners and cattle-owners, but there is no real 
evidence that that is so. 

3 See, e.g., Nachtigal, Voy. au Ouaddi, p. 70; Barth, Vol. in, App. 7, p. 545; 
and El Tunisi {Darfur), p. 129. 

4 These lists will be seen to differ in certain details from those given in Chap, xi 
of my Tribes of Northern and Central Kordofan. For most of the corrections I am 
indebted to Mr C. A. Willis, who for some years was Inspector of Western Kordofan, 
and whose lists I have compared with those compiled by the late Capt. W. Lloyd, 
Mr J. W. Sagar and myself. 

III. 3. XII. 



2. El Kalabna ((a) Dar Nala 

(b) Ghashim 


I (d) DAr Nut- ha 
\(e) Dar Mughaybil 

3. El MuzAghna 

((a) Abu TimAn 


Dar Khantur 


El TirAkna 

\(b) 'Aria 

[(c) Dar Bakhit 

4. El Fayarin 1 

(a) Awlad 'Ukla 

(b) „ Um Hani 

(c) „ 'Awana 


Awlad Hamid 


„ Khuda'a 



„ Um Rahma 


,, Um Bilala 


„ Musa 

(d) Awlad Hamdun 

r (i) 

Awlad Na'im 


„ el Hamra 



„ Nilamta 


,, Abu Sadak 


„ Barak a 

(e) Awlad Kimayl el Zarka 

B. Awlad 'Omran 
1. El Manama 

2. Awlad 'Adil 

(a) AwlAd Um Gud 

(b) Dar Zabali 

(c) ,, Habibulla 

(d) „ Ban at 

(e) „ Rahma 
(/) Fadlia Bardan 
(g) Fadlia Sabir 

(a) Awlad Nigaya 

(b) „ Abu Ghadaya 

(c) „ Abu Hamayd 

(d) „ Abu Hammad 

(e) „ Abu Ismail 
(/) El NawAs^ha 

1 These also appear as a tribe distinct from the Humr or Messfria and have 
merely attached themselves to the Humr. See, e.g., genealogical tree in The 
Anglo-Eg. Sudan..., 1, 334. The remainder of them are in Borku. 



III. 3. XII. 

The Felaita 

a. metaniin i . awlad zlada 1 

2. El ShAmi'a 
J 3 . Awlad Shabib 
"\4« ,, 'Arafa 

5. „ 'Arif 

6. El Ziud 2 

B. Awlad Surur , 1. Awlad Um Khamis 

C. El GubarAt 4 /i 

D. El SalAmAt 5 






„ Gama'a 
„ Um 'Alyan 
,, Um Bokata 
„ Gafir 3 
El Gerafin 3 

El Shiba' /(a) Awlad 
(b) „ 
\ (c) „ 

id) » 

( e ) 
ELGuLADAj(a) Awlad 

(A) » 
[(c) » 
Awlad Ali 
,, Sa'i'di 
„ Abu Idris 
El Gebabira 
Awlad Fadl 

Abu Kadaym 

Abu HilAl 
Abu GakAk 
Abu 'Id 

From an examination of some of the Felaita pedigrees on the 
lines followed above in the case of the HawAzma it appears that they 
and the Agaira became more or less independent of the MESsiRiA 
as long as ten generations ago. 

The Humr country lies on the extreme west of southern Kordofan, 
from the neighbourhood of el Odaya to the Bahr el 'Arab, or "Bahr 
el Humr." North of Muglad it consists of a great sandy plain, but 
to the south it is black cotton-soil covered with thick bush and crossed 
by sandy belts. In the rains the Humr are between Muglad and the 
confines of the Hamar to the north, but in the dry season they and 

1 Cp. El Ziadat among the Habbanfa. 

2 For these as a separate tribe farther west see later. 

3 Most of these are in Borku, it is said. 

4 El Gubarat are also a main division of the Ta'aisha. Cp. also the Beni Gerar 
sections. Until the beginning of the nineteenth century there had long been a tribe 
called Gubarat in Sinai round el 'Arish. They then moved to Gaza (see Na'um 
Bey, Hist. Sinai, p. 108). 

6 For these as a separate tribe farther west see later. 

ill. 3. xiii. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 287 

their cattle move southwards to the Bahr el 'Arab, where they come 
into contact with the Dinka. 

XIII MESSiRfA and Ta'ELBA. The Messiri'a are a large and power- 
ful tribe in Kordofan, but now only sparsely represented in Darfur. 
In the former province they were by the middle of the eighteenth 
century the paramount tribe of Bakkara as far east as Sherkayla, but 
the rise of the Hawazma in league with the Bedayria and others led 
to the Messi'ria being pushed back into the strictly limited stretch 
of country they now occupy round el Sinut, el Mafura and the Wadi 
el Ghalla. In Darfur and Wadai too they were, previously to the 
Mahdia, very numerous 1 , but the havoc of that era and the exactions 
of successive Sultans of Darfur drove many into south-eastern Wadai 
(Dar Runga). As soon as the French were established in the north 
many of these moved into their sphere of influence to escape the 
clutches of the native dynasts, and now form a considerable pro- 
portion of the " Arabes refugies au Fitri 2 ." These, it may be noted, 
are largely breeders of camels. They bear a bad reputation as raiders. 

The Messi'ria remaining in Darfur live a semi-sedentary life in 
villages round Hammadi and Gebel Kirru to the east of Gebel Marra. 
They belong chiefly to the Zurruk branch and are breeders of cattle 
and sheep. Among them are a few Humr and a small colony of 
'Arakiin from the Gezira. 

The "nisbas" in general agree that the Messi'ria are closely akin 
to the Arabian Tha'aliba, but it is doubtful whether the apparent 
corroboration as to this point by the Arabian genealogists {see note 
on p. 281) is in fact corroboration at all or whether the tradition of 
the " nisbas " is not merely derived from the Arabian genealogists. It is 
curious to find in Darfur, living with the Messi'ria, a small tribe of 
Tha'aliba, or Ta'elba as they are generally called, and to find 
Carbou saying of them 3 "Les Ta'aliba descendent de Ta'leb, fils de 
Missir" — a variation no doubt of the "Meskhir son of Tha'aliba" 
noticed above. Most of these Ta'elba live near the south-east corner 
of Gebel Marra as Bakkara, but a few live as villagers in northern 

1 See el Tunisi, Ouaddy..., p. 251, and Darfour..., pp. 129, 134, 297. Barth 
(loc. cit.) calls them "the third tribe amongst the Waday Arabs in respect to 
numbers." Domboli was their headquarters. 

2 This process began in 1903 and the largest and most recent movement of the 
Messirfa, from S.E. Wadai to Fitri district, took place in 1907. See Carbou, 11, 48, 
49. Nachtigal (see Carbou, II, 75, 76) regarded them as of practically the same 
stock as the Salamat. 

3 Loc. cit. The same name occurs ("Ta'alba") among the North African Arabs. 
They were in the desert of Numidia near Takdemt in the sixteenth century, and 
Marmol, who calls them a branch of " Mahequil," i.e. Ma'akla, assessed them at 
44,000 armed men in Algeria. There are still some in the same locality (see Carette, 
PP- 433-445)- 



III. 3. XIII. 

Darfur with the Zaghawa round Hashaba. They are usually con- 
sidered a branch of Messiria. 

Their subdivisions are as follows: 
A. Awlad Kamuna 

i. Nasayrab 

2. Awlad Muhammad 

3. Awlad Ragab 

1. Awlad Nur 

2. Fakarna 

1. Baybish 

2. Awlad Buras 

B. Awlad Ziada 

C. Awlad Shuwayh 

D. Awlad 'Ebayd 

E. Beni 'Atif 1 

F. Mahadi 2 

G. RawAina 
H. Na'imat 

The Messiria of Kordofan are subdivided as follows 

A. Awlad Um Salim 

B. El GhazAya 










C. El DirAwi 

D. El EnenAt 

1 Cp. 'Awatifa and 'Atayfat. 
3 The sing. " kurbag" =a whip. 

AwlAd Sulayman 
„ Hammuda 
„ Abu Zaydan 
,, MusbAh 
„ Ebdo 

AwlAd Um RaydAn 
„ Khayr 
,, BilAl 
„ AgmAn 
„ 'A wad A 


El Ku'Ck 

Awlad Um KerAbig 3 

(i. AwlAd Kudum 

((a) AwlAd Fadla 
- (b) „ Del6t 
[(c) „ GhAli 

^2. AwlAd Serir 

(a) Abu Khorays 

(b) AwlAd BokhAt 

AwlAd Hegliga 


„ HilAl 
El Kurun 
El Shukria 
Awlad NusAr 

„ Um FAris 

2 See note on p. 83. 






III. 3. XIV. 



Awl Ad Abu Na'aman (i 




F. El Zurruk 






G. Awl Ad Hayban 

AwlAd Mahadi 
Um Hayub 
Awlad Dow 

Awlad Ghanim 
Abu 'Alwan 
El DiraymAt 
Beni Sa'id 
Awlad Hinayhi 
Awlad KA'id 
El KurbAg 
\8. El GenahAt 

/ 1 . AwlAd 'Isa 
2. „ Gabri'l 

^3. „ el ShAib 
4. „ Fatr 

XIV Living beside the IVlESsfRiA in Darfur, in addition to the 
Ta'elba, are small colonies of Hotia and Sa'Ada, both closely cognate 
to the rest of the BakkAra family. 

Hotia. The Hotia consider themselves an offshoot of the 

Their main division is into the BAb and the Shibaylab, and these 
are again subdivided into the following nine groups : 

/-AwlAd SulaymAn TAwlAd GhAnim 
Derays „ Baraka 

NawAr I „ NAsir 

NyamAk [BedayrAb 

Sa'Ada. The Sa'Ada, who live north of Showai 1 , are divided into : 

AwlAd Dai6k 
,, Ahmad 
,, HilAl 

j' AwlAd 'Afisa 
J El NuwayAt 
El Bedria 
El Simayria 

Tergam. The Tergam used to live in north-western Darfur and 
were moved by 'Ali Dinar to the east of Gebel Marra. There they 
live with the Beni Husayn, Hotia and Ta'elba Arabs and the seden- 
tary Fur as their neighbours, and breed cattle. They call themselves 
'"Atawa" (descendants of 'Atia) and so belong to the same tribal 
group as the RizaykAt. There are few of them in Darfur, still fewer 
in Dar Masah't and Wadai 2 , and none elsewhere. 

1 Many of them and of the Tergam were until about ten years ago round 
Kebkebfa and Kulkul, but they were removed by 'Ali Dfnar. 

2 Carbou, 11, 84. 

M.S. 1. 




III. 3. XIV. 

Their chief subdivisions are as follows : 
A. Deraisa 

, I . AWLAD SA'lD 

2. „ Sayf el Din 

3. Bashiria 
J 4. Hasabon 

5. Awlad Abu Fatima 

6. Hammadi'a 
\y. 'Atawia 


i . Awlad Abu Hilal 

2. „ Yoga 

3. „ Sirbal 

^ 4. „ EL KOWAL 

5. Kango 

6. Khushmia 1 
v 7. Hanasha 


XV The Rizaykat are all in Darfur and are the richest and most 
powerful tribe in that country. They live in the extreme south-east, 
with the Humr east of them, the Dinka to the south, the Habbania 
to the west, and the Ma'alia and sedentary Birked Bayko and Dagu 
to the north. Owing to the natural advantages of their country, which 
in dry weather is bounded on the north by a broad waterless belt and 
in the rains is marshy, and to their naturally warlike disposition and 
abundance of horses, they were able to resist all aggression by the 
Sultan 'Ali Dinar. But whereas a hundred and fifty years ago they 
roamed in the rainy season over a large part of central Darfur they 
were in his time unable to pass far north of the eleventh degree of 
latitude lest he should attack them and seize their cattle in settlement 
of ancient claims. 

They cultivate south and west of Shakka at Abu Gabra, Um 
Matarik, el Tuhama, etc., and in the dry season go south with their 
cattle to the Bahr el 'Arab, where raids and counter-raids between 
them and the Dinka have been of yearly occurrence. 

Breeding from slave-women, Dinka, Mandala (or Bandala) and 
Shatt for the most part, has markedly affected the racial purity of 
the Rizaykat. 

The first Sultan of Darfur known to have seriously attempted to 
deal with the Rizaykat was Tirab, in the second half of the eighteenth 
century. The Rizaykat foiled him by retiring into the boggy country 
to the south and harrying his troops on all sides 2 . Since then each 
successive Sultan was non-plussed in the same way whenever he 
tried to exact more than a nominal tribute 3 , and in consequence large 
numbers of other Arabs who were less successful or more fearful 
took refuge with the Rizaykat. Most of these were Habbania, Beni 
Helba, Ma'alia and Beni Khuzam. 

1 These hold the "nahds." 

2 See el Tunisi, Voy. au Darfour, pp. 129, 130. 

3 For the Sultan Muhammad Fadl s dealings with them see Carbou, II, 77 and 
78. In October, 1913, the Rizaykat completely defeated the Sultan 'Ali Dinar. 

III. 3. XVI. 



XVI The main divisions of the Rizaykat are as follows : 

A. Mahria 1 

B. Nawaiba 

C. MahAmid 

f 1. Um Dahia 

I (a) Um Sellama 


(c) „ Hasan 

(d) „ Zuayd 

(e) Radiania 
(/) 'IshayshAt 

Um Ahmad 

i{a) NAs 'ArukJ(i) AwlAd Kadum 
\(2) NAs GimA'i 

(b) NAs el Tom and AwlAd Mu'wAn 

(c) AwlAd KA'id 

(d) „ HenAn 
y (e) Baraka 

Awlad Sulayman 

(a) Dar Hasan 

(b) „ Kubga 

(c) Awlad Um Azrak 

(d) Dar Fadayla 
DAr Ballul 

(a) DAr Um FezAra 
AwlAd Su'ud 

AwlAd ShAi'k 
((a) El 'AtAyi 
\(b) AwlAd TAko 
2. Um Sayf el Din 

{ {a) AwlAd Yasin 

(b) „ Gifayli 

(c) El HanAtish 

(d) El HarAmis 

(e) AwlAd Um Layk 
(/) El ShigayrAt 
(g) Asirra 

AwlAd Zayt 

(a) Awlad Birri 

(b) ,, Dikayl "I 
„ Kermush - 
„ JakAr J 




The name of each of the three main divisions is well known as 
belonging to a large camel-owning tribe in northern Darfur and 
Wadai; but though the MahAmid, Mahria and NawAiba of the 

1 I know no evidence of connection between these and the well-known Him- 
yaritic tribe of southern Arabia (for whom see D 1, VIII; Zwemer, p. 85, etc.), but 
such connection is quite possible none the less. 

19/ — 2 

292 THE GUHAYNA GROUP in. 3. xvi. 

north are essentially the same race as those composing the Rizaykat 
it will be more convenient to deal with them separately at the close 
of this chapter 1 . It may be said here, however, in passing, that it is 
preferable to speak of these three tribes as having united in the south 
of Darfur to form the Rizaykat than to regard the three tribes as 
offshoots of the southern Bakkara tribe. 


XVII The Ta'aisha, we have seen, are closely connected with the 
Habbania by race and, like them, claim descent from Hay mad. With 
the exceptions to be specified they are confined to Darfur 2 . 

Their name, too, is perhaps best known on account of the 
Khalifa 'Abdullahi having been of their number. Many thousands 3 
of them were imported by him to Omdurman during his reign and 
used as a bodyguard and a means of enforcing his will upon the 
riverain tribes. Dongola Province was for a period entirely under 
their domination 4 . 

After the Khalifa's overthrow many of the Ta'aisha returned to 
Darfur, but colonies of them settled in Sennar and Kassala provinces, 
and a few elsewhere. Others enlisted in the Camel Corps and 
Mounted Infantry. 

The Ta'aisha country in Darfur lies between that of the Hab- 
bania on the east, Dar Sula on the west, the Beni Helba country to 
the north and the negro Fertit to the south. It is very sparsely 
populated at the present time. 

The main divisions of the Ta'aisha are : 

Kilada 5 

i. Awlad 'Amir 

9. El Dakaila 

2. „ Tabit 

((a) El Bedria 

] (b) El 'f dAi 

[(c) El Ba'ash6mi 

3- „ Zaid 

4. ,, Sellama 

5. El Showwasha 

10. El Barakawi 

6. El Negmia 

ii. El Sheluhi 

7. El Diabia 

12. El Hadramia 

8. Awlad el Bihayli 

13. Awlad Abu Milka, or Abmilka 


El Hadhalin 

1 There is a fairly large colony of Mahamid Awlad Yasin who fall between the 
two major groups of southern Rizaykat and northern camel-nomads. These Awlad 
Yasin live a day south-west of el Fasher round Abu Zerayka under a sheikh of their 
own and are Bakkara. 

2 Cp. Carbou, n, 54. 

3 Slatin says "upwards of 24,000 warriors with their wives and families." 
* Ibid. Ch. xiii. 

5 "Kilada" and " errik" are both names of camel-brands, like " tdra" and 
"sot" in the case of the Habbania (q.v. supra). 




B. 'Errik 1 

El Gubarat 2 3. 

(a) Um Surra 4. 

(b) Awlad Gid 5. 

c) „ Hasabu 6. 

d) „ Serhan 7. 

e) „ Hamdan 8. 
/) „ Kaid 9. 

Um Rayda 10. 

a) El Bellal i i . 

b) El Belluli 12. 

c) El 'Imayrat 

d) El Mansuri 

Awlad Sinna 

,, Hamaydan 
Um La'asa 
Awlad 'Abbas 
El Gerarha 3 
El Fatimi'a 
El Mati'ya 4 
El Ghazalin 
Awlad Sa'ad 

Abu Tom 


XVIII The Beni Helba were until recent years a large and rich 
tribe with their " ddr" proper situated in the 'Id el Ghanam district, 
south-west of Gebel Marra, and with a smaller branch, the 'Alowni 
and other Awlad Gabir, living east of Marra and south of Gebel 
Harayz. An independent tribe of Beni Helba also lived in Wadai 5 . 

In the early years of the nineteenth century the Sultan Muham- 
mad Fadl (1799-1839) decimated the numbers and seized most of 
the herds of the Darfur tribe 6 . They recovered their wealth and 
prosperity only to be again decimated during the Mahdia. After the 
overthrow of the Khalifa they again recuperated, but the fiscal ex- 
actions of 'Ali Dinar and his continual demands for levies and horses 
and cattle, beginning in 1900 and culminating in 1909, drove the 
bulk of the Beni Helba into Dar Rizaykat, Dar Sula and Dar Humr. 

On the defeat of 'Ali Dinar by the Government in May, 19 16, 
the Beni Helba saw their opportunity for revenge, collected their 
scattered forces and set to work to raid the cattle of 'Ali Dinar and 
of the sedentary Fur and others living on the confines of the country, 
hoping no doubt to lay the foundations of a fresh tribal fortune in 
place of those lost in preceding generations. The Beni Helba refugees 
in Dar Sula at the same time seized the opportunity to stream back 
into Darfur and assist in the good work. 

The Beni Helba are divided into Awlad GAbir and Awlad 

1 See note 5, p. 292. 

2 Cp. among the Humr Felaita and the Beni Gerar. 

3 See note on p. 283, above. 4 Cp. p. 202. 

5 Barth, Vol. in, App. 7, p. 545, classes them as one of the chief tribes of Wadai. 
Cp. Nachtigal, Voy. au Ouadal, pp. 70, 72, who classes them among the camel- 
owning nomads. El Tunisi mentions them in Darfur (Voyage..., p. 129). 

' Carbou, II, 89, 90. 



Gubara, and the chief subdivisions of these two 
follows : 

III. 3. xvm. 
branches are as 



' i. El 'Alowni 1 

2. El Zanatit 


3. El HazAziri 

4. El Hadhalil 

^5. El MisA'ia 

AwlAd Gubara 

' 1 . Awlad Gema'an 

(a) Dar Nimr 

(b) Awlad Wadi 

(c) ,, Habib 

(d) „ Sufra 



(e) „ Musa 
(/) El 'Ashari'a 
(g) El 'Amiria 

,2. Awlad 'Ali 

((a) Awlad Dhifra , 


Awlad Ni'ama 


„ Manuna 


„ Ahmad 





„ el Sheikh 


DAr Kibaydi 

(b) 'Ushbur 



1 (el Shabul?) 

AwlAd Munif 

x ' ' 


,, 'Abid 


„ el Sheikh 

Awlad Ghayad i{a) AwlAd Dow 
\(b) „ FarAg 
-(c) „ Maragulla 

(d) „ el Ruays 

(e) El Selimia 

4. Beni Mandul ((a) AwlAd SAlim 

(b) Kurbia 

(c) AwlAd Higga 

(d) Awlad ZAid 

Beni LAbid ((a) AwlAd Sa'i'd 

(b) AwlAd Dikayn 

(c) El ArArma 

(d) AwlAd Um SerAg 

(e) AwlAd Musayid 

16. Awlad GhAnim ((a) Humr 

\(b) Zurruk 

1 Cp. the 'Alowna among the Kababfsh and others among the Kenana. The 
same name occurs in Sinai (Tor) as that of a branch of Muzayna (see Na'um Bey, 
Hist. Sinai..., p. 112). 

in. 3. xix. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 295 

The Beni Helba of Darfur are a particularly low type of Arab, 
poor in spirit and physique, incurably lazy and with none of the 
finer qualities that distinguish the nomad Arabs of Kordofan. 


XIX The Beni Khuzam are for the most part in Wadai and Dar 
Sula. A few of them are in Darfur and these are at the present 
moment, and since 19 14, refugees living among the Rizaykat. 

The tribe belongs to the Haymad group of Bakkara and through 
it claims descent from the Beni Makhzum of Arabia 1 . 

In Wadai a portion in the south are Bakkara and a portion in 
the north owners of camels 2 . Since 1904 many of them have entered 
the ranks of the "Arabes refugies au Fitri." Others, again, are in 
Bakirmi 3 with the Salamat, and in Bornu 4 . 

M. Carbou subdivides those west of Darfur as follows 5 : 

A. Bahariye/i. Oulad 'Ali 

2. Oulad Afan 

3. Am Zihefe 

4. Oulad Abou Fahil 
■{ 5. Oulad Zait 

6. Kanabke ("ou El Mehamid") 

7. Oulad Marram 

8. Oulad Hebe - 
v etc. 

B. Alaling ("ou Alalik 6 "). 

He also mentions as subdivisions of the Beni Khuzam the " Oulad 
Abou Assaf, Omeirat et Qebesat." These latter and some of the 
Kanabka are in Bornu. 

The Khuzam in Darfur speak of themselves as closely connected 
with the Beni Husayn and divided into Baharia and 'Alalik. The 
former consist, they say, of Hammuda and Gema'a, the latter of 
'Imayrat (i.e. the "Omeirat" mentioned), Asheddad and Sayf. 

Mostly in Bakirmi 

1 Carbou, II, 71-74. Barth (Vol. in, App. 7, p. 545) makes them the fourth 
largest tribe of Arabs in Wadai. For the Beni Makhzum see Wustenfeld, R. 

2 It would be these of whom Nachtigal (Ouada'i, p. 71) says: " Physiquement 
ils ressemblent aux Djaadina's, mais sont allies avec les Zoghaoua's (Amm Kim- 
melte)." The "Djaadina" he describes as of a colour "l£gerement grisatre et 
rougeatre: ils sont a peu pres pur sang arabes" {loc. cit.). 

3 Cp. map in El Tunisi's Ouaday..., and Carbou, n. 8. 

4 Ibid. Those in Bornu are said to have only settled there about 1830. 
8 Ibid. I preserve M. Carbou's spelling. 

6 Some of these also are in Bakirmi. Ibid. 



III. 3. xx 


XX The Beni Husayn are divided between Wadai and Darfur. 
They are only a small tribe, and those in Darfur camp in the rainy- 
season west-south-west of el Fasher between Gebel Kussa and 
Marra, and in the summer farther south. Until moved by 'Ali Dinar 
some ten years ago they were mostly north of Kulkul. 
The sections in Darfur are : 


„ MtJSA 

„ Bahr 
,, Rashid 
„ 'Ukal 


awlad sellama 


/awlad 'alayan 

,, Salim 
El Noarna 


,, Mazin 
El Endaiyin 
^El 'Alamat 


XXI This small tribe of semi-nomadic Bakkara living immediately 
south of el Fasher belongs to the Haymad group. Its subdivisions 


Awlad Sultan ~\ Awlad Zayd ^ 

„ El Asad „ Shal6li j 

„ Hammadia j 

There is a section of Kababish in northern Kordofan who are 
also called Bashi'r and are probably by origin a branch of the Darfur 


XXII Of the Salamat, Beni Rashid (or Rowashda) and Ziud little 
will be said since they do not inhabit Kordofan or Darfur except in 
negligible numbers, and are then incorporated in other tribes 1 . 

SalAmAt. The Salamat 2 are one of the largest tribes in Africa 
and inhabit Bornu, the Chad district, Bakirmi and southern Wadai. 
They were also at one time fairly numerous in Darfur, but were dis- 
persed and driven westwards. The western branch of the tribe is 
darker than the eastern and is included in the general term " Shoa." 
All alike are Bakkara, though they also own a certain number of 

Their two main divisions are the 'fsiA and the Awlad Musa 3 , but 

1 Cp. the subdivisions of the Humr Felaita. 

2 See Carbou, II, pp. 56-71 ; Barth, in (Ch. 42), 136, 137, and m (Ch. 51), 454 
and 465, etc. 

3 The former are chiefly in Bornu and Bakirmi, the latter in Wadai and the 
Chad district as well. 

in. 3. xxii. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 297 

each is subdivided into very numerous subsections, which again 
contain many alien elements, such as Fellata and Bulala 1 . 

Beni RAshid and ZlUD. The Beni Rashid and Ziud are very 
closely connected and the latter should really be reckoned a branch 
of the former 2 . In practically every Bakkara "nisba" the ancestor 
of the Ziud appears as a descendant of Rashid. 

At the present day the two tribes live together in Bornu and 
Wadai 3 . A few are camel-owning nomads in the north: these (Ziud) 
were referred to by Nachtigal as " de race arabe legerement melee de 
sang noir 4 ." But the great majority are Bakkara. 

Now one of the three main divisions of the Beni Rashid in Wadai 
is the Zebada, a term used to include within its scope the Ziud 5 , and 
el Tunisi, who met these Zebada in western Wadai at the beginning 
of the nineteenth century, was assured by their "'akid 6 " that they 
were of Yemenite origin and "derived their name from Zebfd, a 
town of el Yemen, and that they were descended from the Him- 
3'arites 7 ." 

This and the closeness of the bond existing between the Ziud 
and the Beni Rashid (or Rowashda, as they are often called) at once 
connect the whole group with the Zebaydia-Rashaida community of 
the eastern Sudan 8 . The word " Rashaida" is simply a variant plural 
of Rashid and, like "Rowashda," is the exact equivalent of "Beni 
Rashid 9 ." But whereas the Beni Rashid and Ziud have been for 
centuries in the western Sudan and are mostly Bakkara, the Ra- 
shaida and Zebaydi'a in the east are recent immigrants and entirely 
concerned with camels. 

The same group occurs again in Sinai, where in 191 5, among the 
seven sections of Sowarka inhabiting the north-east extremity of 

1 Cp. Carbou, II, 51 ff., and 1, 18. 

2 Ibid, ii, 86-89. 

3 A fraction of the Awlad Rashid are also incorporated among the Mahamid Um 
Gellul in Darfur (see later). 

4 Voy. au Ouadai, p. 16. Carbou {loc. cit.) speaks of the Awlad Rashid of Bornu as 
a "fraction des Djo'ama" {i.e. Gawama'a), but the statement sounds rather curious. 

5 Carbou, loc. cit. The other two main divisions in Wadai are given as " Hamida " 
[Ahamda ?] and " Azid." In Bornu they are divided into " Hemediya" and " Sawa- 
rima." Nachtigal (Voy. au Ouaddi, p. 72) treats the Zebada as a distinct tribe and 
says: "lis rassemblent beaucoup aux Oulad Rachid, sont a peine cuivres, bien 
batis mais fort peu civilises el tres pillards." 

6 The title " 'Akfd el Zebada" survived in Wadai until the French occupation 
as that of one of the important functionaries of the Sultanate. 

7 El Tunisi, Voy. au Ouaday, p. 250. He gives the Arabic spelling as 5j*)j. 
Zebfd is "a large trading port nearly opposite to Masuah" [Massowa] (Bruce, 
Vol. in, Bk. ill, p. 184). 

8 See Chap. 13 in this Part. 

9 Cp. the case of the "Beni Mansur," called "Manasir," on the river and 
"Manasra" in Darfur and Kordofan (see Chap. 1 (d) above). 



III. 3. XXII. 

the peninsula, I found two who were named respectively Ziud and 

There are also a few Ziud incorporated among the Humr Felaita 1 
in Kordofan. 

In dealing with the Hawazma attention was drawn to the con- 
nection that existed between that tribe and the Beni Harb of Arabia. 
The same connection appears to exist in the case of some at least of 
the Beni Rashid, for the Zebaydia (corresponding to the Zebada of 
the west) are properly a section of the Beni '(5f branch of the Beni 
Harb 2 . 



XXIII There remain to be considered the five camel-owning tribes 
of northern Darfur and Wadai who are of the same stock as the 
Bakkara. Three of these, the Nawaiba, the Mahria and the Ma- 
hamid, have been already mentioned as composing in the south of 
Darfur the great tribe of the Rizaykat: the fourth is the 'Eraykat, 
and the fifth the 'Atayfat. 

All alike claim the Guhayna connection and either entered 
Darfur and Wadai in the fourteenth century or rather later 3 . 

XXIV The Mahamid are spoken of by el Tunisi, who passed through 
their country 4 , as a powerful tribe containing many subdivisions and 
owning great herds of camels, horses and other wealth in northern 
Wadai 5 . He says, too, that they have "presque la nuance claire des 
figyptiens 6 ." In his work on Darfur he also mentions them among 
the Fezara ["Fararah"] group in the north 7 . 

Nachtigal includes the Mahria, the Nawaiba, the 'Eraykat and 
the 'Atayfat in the term Mahamid. He says of them 8 : 

Les Mahamid's peuvent fournir au moins quatre mille cavaliers. lis 
sont rougeatres et ont bon caractere; on les dit pieux, bienfaisants et 

1 See list of subsections on p. 286, above. 

2 Burton, Pilgrimage..., II, 120. He calls them " Zubayd...near Mecca, a numer- 
ous clan of fighting thieves." 

3 M. Carbou speaks (n, 77) on the authority of Slatin (Bk. 1, Ch. 2) of the 
genesis of the Nawaiba, Mahria and Mahamid as being due to the policy of the 
Sultan Muhammad Fadl who, having subdued the Rizaykat, transplanted many of 
them to northern Darfur where they "eventually developed into" the three tribes 
mentioned. This is misleading. Muhammad Fadl may have transplanted Rizaykat 
to the north, but they were only rejoining their kinsfolk there and were absorbed 
into them afresh. 4 Voyage au Ouaday, p. 512. 

5 Ibid. pp. 250, 251. Cp. Barth, Vol. in, App. 7, p. 545. 

6 Voyage au Ouaday, p. 400. Contrast Carbou, 11, 80, "un type noir aux traits 

7 Voyage au Darfour, p. 129. 8 Voyage au Ouadai, p. 72. 

in. 3. xxiv. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 299 

hospitaliers ; ils parlent l'arabe le plus pur. lis habitent au Nord-Ouest 
du Dar Mimi 1 ....Les fractions de cette tribu sont nombreuses, j'ai pu 
reconnaitre les suivantes: les Oulad Djellou 2 , les Oulad Cheik 3 , les Oulad 
Yassin 3 , les Oulad Zed 3 , les Nedja's, les Seif ed din 3 (ou Seifan), les 
Naouaiba's, les Erekat's, les Mahariye's (Mehriya?), les Oulad Djenab, 
les Hamdiya's, les Et teiyifat's 4 . 

These Nachtigal classes among the camel-owning nomads. His 
estimate of their character was not accurate. They are and always 
have been inveterate raiders; " intelligent^, astucieux, menteurs 5 "; 
lax in their religion and resentful of all control. Among them is a 
smattering of Kura'an 6 . 

The number of camel-owning Mahamid in northern Darfur 
since the " Mahdia" has been inconsiderable in comparison with 
those living farther west, but about 1908 a number of Mahamid 
(Awlad Shaik) from Wadai, commonly known as "Um Gallul," 
migrated into Darfur and settled with the Shotia and Awlad Shaik 
sections north of el Fasher — where they say they had been some 
three or four generations previously, before they went to Wadai. In 
1914 some of these migrated still farther east and went to Kordofan. 
In 19 1 6, on the death of 'Ali Dinar, they returned to Darfur. 

The subdivisions of the northern Mahamid in Darfur correspond 
fairly closely to those of the Bakkara branch who form a third of 
the Rizaykat : they are as follows : 

A. Awlad Shaik 

1. Um Sayf el Din 

2. Um Gallul (a) Awlad Gilal 

(1) Awlad 'fD 

(b) Awlad Mablul 

(c) ,, Bilayli 

(d) ,, el Rifayik 

(e) ,, Tako 
(/) „ Rashid 7 

B. Awlad Yasin. Already mentioned as being cattle-owners and 

living in an intermediate position between the southern Bakkara 
and the camel-owners. 

C. Shotia 

D. Awlad Zayt. Partly camel- and partly cattle-owning. They live 

round Tina, between el Fasher and Gebel Marra. 

1 I.e. in Wurada district: see Carbou, II, 79. 

2 Presumably the "Um Gallul" mentioned later. 

s Cp. subsections of Mahamid among the Rizaykat as given above, and Carbou 
11, 83. 

4 I.e. the 'Atayfat, for whom see later. 

5 Carbou, 11, 80, quoting Lieut. Lucien. 6 Carbou, II, 83. 

7 Awlad Rashid from Wadai who have attached themselves to the Um Gallul. 



III. 3. XXV. 

XXV The Nawaiba of the north are the same in type as the 
Mahamid but fewer, and live among them. In addition to these and 
the Nawaiba among the Rizaykat in the south, there is an inde- 
pendent Bakkara tribe of Nawaiba in south-eastern Wadai 1 . 

XXVI The Mahri'a fall under the same classification as the Ma- 
hamid and Nawaiba, and are usually mentioned in company with 
them 2 . Those in Darfur live with the Mahamid between Kuttum 
and Gebel Marra at the present day and are not numerous. Their 
sections are: 


! Um Ahmad 
-I Awlad Henani 
„ 'Ali 

( Awlad Kaid 
„ Bazki 
„ Sa'id 

XXVII Akin to them and generally claimed to be Mahria are the 
camel-owning 'Atayfat 3 who live round Mellit and in Anka district 
to the north. There they are subdivided into Awlad Baraka, Awlad 
'Agayl and Awlad Gowna. They say they have also two sections, 
Hagaia and Awlad Nusr in Wadai, and one, the 'Akakiz, in southern 
Darfur with the Rizaykat. 

XXVIII The 'Eraykat also belong to the same group 4 . They were 
chiefly in north-western Darfur until the time of the Sultan Muham- 
mad Fadl, but that ruler attacked them and decimated their numbers 
and delivered their grazing-grounds over to the Mahamid and others. 
The survivors fled northwards. At present most of the 'Eraykat are 
camel-owners round el Fasher and in the north-west. Some are 
further afield in the Ennedi district with the Bedayat and in Dar 
Tama 5 . El Tiinisi 6 also mentions them as a rich Bakkara tribe in 
south-western Wadai, but his story to the effect that their name was 
derived from el 'Irak, i.e. Mesopotamia, and that they were con- 
nected with the Beni Lakhm and Gudham ("Djouzamides") was 
probably pure invention. The 'Eraykat of Darfur are divided into 
Zebelat on the one hand and a group consisting of Dimaysat, 
Nasria, Awlad Kerru and MiNAwfA on the other. 

1 Nachtigal mentions them as camel-owners in Wadai: see Voy. au Ouadal, 
pp. 40, 50, 72, 109; and cp. map to el Tunisi's Ouaddy and Carbou, loc. cit. 

2 E.g. see Nachtigal, Ouadal, pp. 65, 70, 72, 93 ; Tunisi's map, etc. See also 
Carbou, II, 78-79. 

3 Their name is no doubt formed from a diminutive of '"utfa" (see note to 
MS. D 3, 132). It also occurs as that of a section of 'Anaza in northern Arabia, 
(Burckhardt, Notes..., 1, 4). 

* Cp. Nachtigal, Ouadal, p. 72. B Carbou, II, pp. 74, 75 

8 Ouaday, p. 250 and map. 



The genealogical trees of the Bakkdra 

The genealogical trees of the Bakkara which follow are taken from various 

Tree I. Was compiled about 1906 from oral information by Mr J. W. 
Sagar, Inspector in the Nuba Mountains Province, on the authority of the 
Hawazma. The spelling of the names has been adapted. 

Tree II. Was compiled subsequently from oral information by 
Capt. A. L. Hadow, Inspector in the Nuba Mountains Province, on the 
authority of the Hawazma and Humr Felaita. The spelling of the names 
has in this case also been adapted. 

Tree III. Quoted from The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1, 334), on the 
authority of " Kubr Abdel Rahman, Sheikh of the Guberat section of the 
Taaisha." Spelling of names left unaltered. 

Tree IV. Quoted from Dr Helmolt in The History of the World, p. 585, 
chiefly on the authority of Nachtigal. Spelling of names left unaltered. 

Tree V. Compiled by myself from oral information given by the 
ndzir" of the Humr Felaita. For further details see my Tribes..., 







3 -^ 

TO ^ w • 

3 £ 

OS 3 
"« _-S _ "0 _ 
iS i < 











— S~l. TO 














"3 S^v 

2 « * a 
£ «2,S 

Xrr> ^ ~ 

<3 ■* 

in 00 v 

- 3 <=> 


«TO^ 1 

v 2$ v<3 '-w^'s 

rS « c> "^ ^-» 5t 
W S|.« 3*C 


■s <*,2 

.5 i) 

3- a 
ft J 


c S 

*?3 £ 


+3 *- 

a <3 







x, 2 



-CS P 





CO ^i 
' CD " 

-c is 
- s cs "g - 

« a 

^2 CU 


+j i. . 

6fl M >> 

■*"* .^H 

03 „• e 

— ^ ■ — 
en ra 

« .pq 

" o "3 

«Cq c 

C cs 


« 3'" 


13 - 

CO J - 


C -C 


o oj i> 


•rj-o C 






n. Esci 
ksof ««: 


- =3 <S 

J" S S 

■*-» >cS cd 
-O 1 *? cu 

" - ■ -'" 

£.2 o- 

ca x) « 


3 • eL 

h ai •« 


c oo 


■ rt M 


2 *» *- 

£ ^2 







I — *4> 


C3 53 


C/3 (3 C3 (3 





"*• <3 -? 

•^ g ~~j -^ -^, 
►2,2 g S s 
































en <3 
ca T? 











- « 

-a £5 













.13 53 

fa s 





.- a 

is l~ 




G u 5! 

■3 3 

-C3 ip OQ 
§ 3"<3 


- — 

<u ca 

£ ^S 


<U 4) 

X to 

a £ 


£ 3 
3 2 


V S3 

•*-" ,„ 

C3 -»*> 




_BS J 




3 <3 



C3 N_/ 





<U en 

•£ S 

CO ? 

V3 M 














.2 ^ 


IS 0) 


ca j; 


- 4- 



a 2 

-T3 * 







— X 




* 3 


CD ~ 

*j ca 
ca t- 
- <u 




to c 
•3 1) 

a to 

•— 1 3 


rt m 














l— 3 


•— X 








CQ ' *■» 

>» <3 


O O 

^—^ ' 

CS rrt A3 _ 








•— ' 








/ — V 






*cj ^S 





. — '■*-* 



. % 







eg -a 






— 1) '1 



i— i 




( _ s 





t- O 


to O 




L .2 § 


03 « 









jj § 53 



i — C a fc 

1 — 1 






^H 1 




cs - 1 

i-r 1 *■• J 

M-l c 







Habbania) ( 



^ CS 

CS ~-2 



cs ; 

CS •« 

"3 , -a'S 









■— < 



• W 


— N 



— c 


< " 





Ahmed el Aj 



ma (stepson) J 



1 1 
a Ziut Hamd 





cs Q 














3 en 





5 1 


— , — 1 













I °- 

O en ,— v 

u * 8 

3 i- rj 

























"3 1« cv 

h2 S 

— . u 







en k. 


_ *^ 
CO w 



























* N 


























o 5 s 



C"h CO 
c« ^3 :« 



-O O 
JS en 


CO C3 

*S <« 'v © c <a 
1»* ^ t-> « N "\ 

cs 1 ^; 





















~ CO 






s-. <i 

en § 

O _ 







en ^g 





O >> 
4-> **•* 
en ?>» 
cj -Si 

c c 






- Ui en 

CO <cO 

cq >. 
















M.S. I. 








z ~ 











-3 -a 


-CS 4) 


<I 3 s 

»+ o 








/ — s. 















-— ' 







— 3 

• tuo" 






sh Ga'atai 
ha) (Ga'dtn 


-: 3: 5 



- C — 




- o 

i 08 



- cs 


• — 


- CS 

i- bo 




_ N 



x, — 

- CO 






, cs 




V N 



















— J3 





£ J 




U 53 
-3 5= 





i— i 



CS 3 






_ "cS 



- 1-1 





- O 











The Guhayna Group (continued) 


I The Kababish perhaps present a more interesting study in racial 
composition than any other tribe in the Sudan. 

At the present they are outwardly a homogeneous whole under the 
control of a supreme sheikh ("ndzir") to whose authority the sheikhs 
of the subtribes and the individuals alike bow. They are also the 
largest and most wealthy tribe of camel-owning nomads in the country. 
The term " tribe" is therefore quite applicable to them; but none the 
less they are really a congeries of heterogeneous Arab elements 2 , 
modified to some extent by Hamitic (Bega and Berber) and negro 
(slave) admixture, but more essentially Arab than the majority of the 
nomadic tribes and, a fortiori, than any of the sedentary population. 

II The growth of the tribe to its present state is the result of a 
series of accretions which have been taking place for several centuries, 
and the particular cause responsible for this process has been the 
geographical advantages offered by the country inhabited by the 
Kababish. This comprises the whole of the high land of which the 
line Um Badr-Katul-Kagmir-Um Inderaba is, approximately speak- 
ing, the southern boundary. 

On the north the Kababish are only limited by the deserts of the 
Sahara. Westwards they wander beyond the Wadi el Melik to the 
Darfur border, and on the east, in the dry season, they water their 
flocks in the Wadi Mukaddam. There is also a large section of the 
tribe in Dongola Province, chiefly nomadic but having some cultiva- 
tion in the Nile valley. 

In northern Kordofan they have certain patches of cultivation in 
the vicinity of their chief watering places, but the cultivators are only 
dependants left behind for the purpose while the tribe as a whole is 
grazing further afield, or, occasionally, poor men who have only a 
few sheep and goats. 

1 See also MacMichael, Tribes..., Chap, xv, and in Vol. xl, iqio, of Journ. 
Anthrop. Instit. 

2 Their heterogeneity is indicated by the diversity of their camel-brands. There 
is no single brand peculiar to the tribe nor any trace of such. Each main division, 
however, has a brand common to all its members. These are specified in my 
brochure on Camel Brands used in Kordofan, and certain of them are mentioned in 
the course of this chapter. 

20 — 2 

308 * THE GUHAYNA GROUP 111.4.11. 

The natural features of the country they inhabit are eminently 
suitable for the breeding of camels and sheep, and in its southern 
portion for cattle rearing. To one familiar with these level or gently 
undulating stony tracts, intersected by numerous more fertile shallow 
valleys and dotted with rocky outcrops, a description of the highlands 
of Nejd in Arabia, taken apart from its context, reads as though it 
must refer to the Kababi'sh country. 

When the obstacle of the Christian kingdom of Dongola had been 
swept away at the beginning of the fourteenth century by the Arabs, 
and the tribes of Guhayna and their allies poured into the Sudan, 
many of these, finding the eastern desert sufficiently occupied by 
other Arab and Bega tribes, betook themselves to the hardlv less 
congenial tracts lying west of the river. It has already been explained 1 
that these parts were not previously unoccupied. The Arabs found 
there bands of negro-Hamitic Tibbu and, in the hills, colonies of 
"Nuba," and it may have taken them several centuries to establish 
a complete ascendancy over the plains. The fringe of hills from 
el Haraza to Kaga they never attempted to conquer, and it was not 
until five or six generations ago that they had entirely extirpated the 
Nuba from the far less formidable and now uninhabited hills lying 
farther north and well within the present " ddr" el Kababish. 

III The name of Kababi'sh {sing. Kabbashi) is popularly derived 
in the usual manner from a purely fictitious ancestor called Kabsh 2 , 
but is more properly to be connected with the word "kabsh" a ram 3 . 
At what period the name was adopted there is no evidence 4 . The 
names of certain of the subtribes and what little can be learnt of 
their past history confirm the conclusion, to which one would arrive 
in any case on historical grounds, that they came originally from the 
northern portion of the Hegaz. 

Let us take examples : 

IV The section which lives round Um Inderaba and Um Sidr and 
is essentially a sheep-breeding community is the Awlad 'Ukba. 
Tradition tells us that they were "the original Kababi'sh 5 " and held 

1 See Part I, Ch. 2. 

2 He generally appears as "son of Afzar" — who again is descended from 
" 'Abdulla el Guhani," the intent being to connect the Kababish suitably with the 
Fezara and Guhayna groups. 

3 Cp. the formation of Ma'aza from "ma'az" (he-goats), and of "'Anaza" 
from " anz" (she-goats), and perhaps of " Shoa" from "slid" (sheep). Cp. Carbou, 
II, 20, and Burton, Land of Midian, 1, 336. 

4 The Kababish use the word " takabbasha" to describe the collecting together 
of the various component parts into a single tribal whole. 

5 The first of the present sections to join them are said to have been the 
RowahJa (sing. Rahli) and the Awlad '(3n. These, according to very vague tradition, 
were followed by the Seragab, Awlad Hawal and Nurab. 

Hi. 4. iv. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 309 

the sheikhship some ten generations ago, until the Ribaykat sup- 
planted them. It is also said that of the Awlad 'Ukba who crossed 
into Egypt from Arabia a part passed through Tripoli and eventually 
drifted into the ranks of the Fellata in West Africa, that others 
are incorporated in the great Awlad 'Ali tribe of the Libyan desert 1 , 
and that a third portion settled in the Syrian desert. 

This is quite enough to identify the Awlad 'Ukba of Kordofan 
with the Beni 'Ukba who still live among the Huwaytat on the 

o • • • 

Arabian coast round Makna, Muwayla and Ziba 2 , and in company 
with the Muzayna in Sinai 3 . 

In an earlier chapter we have already met these Awlad 'Ukba as 
a branch of the Beni Gudham. 

Dr Wallin, who made their acquaintance near 'Akaba in 1848, 
quotes 4 various Arabic authorities as to their ancient history. 

Ibn Fadlulla el 'Omari 5 (1301-1348) says they are responsible for 
convoying pilgrim caravans part of the way between 'Akaba and 
el Medina. Ibn Khaldun 6 corroborates this, and adds: "In Afrikia, 
in the west, there are some of them, as well as in the neighbourhood 
of Terabulus" (Tripoli). He also speaks of the Beni Wasil of 
Egypt 7 as "a branch of the Beni 'Ukba son of Moghraba 8 son of 
Gudham of the Kahtania 9 ." 

The Beni 'Ukba told Wallin 10 that in old days their territories 
used to be more extensive, and that they had been divided at the 
commencement of Islam into Musalima and Beni 'Amr, and they 
described how they had been gradually ousted from their more 
northernly territories by the Huwaytat. 

Burton tells us 11 at length how after years of struggle against odds 
the Beni 'Ukba were compelled to conclude peace with the Huway- 
tat on terms so disadvantageous as to be dishonourable 12 , and to 

1 For the Awlad 'Ali see, e.g., Junker, p. 33 ff. ; Klippel, pp. 10, etc. 

2 Cp. Burton, Land of Midian, I, 161 ff., Wallin, p. 299, etc. 

3 Wallin, p. 298. I found the Beni 'Ukba still in the localities mentioned when 
I visited the Arabian coast with the Red Sea Patrol in 1915. 

4 Journ. Roy . Geogr. Soc. Vol. xx, 1851, p. 301. Burton was familiar with Wallin 's 
work and also cites the Arabic authorities and gives a long account of the traditional 
history of the tribe (Land of Midian, I, 161 ff.). 

5 Referred to by Wallin as "the author of Al-Mesaliku-1-Absar." See Huart, 
p. 326. He is also known as Abu el 'Abbas Shihab el Din Ahmad (Wallin, p. 343). 

6 Wallin speaks of him as "the author of Al-'Ibar." The reference to Ibn 
Khaldun is Vol. 1 (ed. de Slane), pp. 9-1 1. 

7 Q.v. ap. Klippel, pp. 5-6. 

8 "Moghraba" should perhaps be "Mahria": see Wustenfeld, Tab. 5. 

9 Other passages quoted are merely genealogical in tenour. 
10 Q.v. p. 300. u Loc. cit. 

12 Burton says "these hard conditions were actually renewed some twenty-five 
years ago" (i.e. about 1850). 



III. 4. IV. 

give up their privilege of escorting the pilgrims. He also relates the 
tale of their wars with the Ma'aza in the early sixteenth century, and 
with the Beli who lived south of them. 

Most of the Beni 'Ukba who went to Egypt joined the Beni 
Hilal and appear among the subtribes of that great congeries as 
enumerated by Ibn Khaldun and el Makrizi. 

Leo Africanus (c. 1495-1552) refers to them as " Hucban" : " The 
kingdom of Hucban are next neighbours unto the region of Melian, 
who receive certain pay from the King of Tunis. They are a rude and 
wilde people, and in very deade estranged from al humanitie: they 
have (as it is reported) about 1500 horsemen 1 ." At what period, or 
by what route, they came to northern Kordofan there is no direct 

V Another large branch of the Kababish, a rich camel-owning folk, 
are the 'Atawia (sing. 'Atawi). The form " 'Atawia " is the equivalent 
of "Beni 'Atia," and I have little hesitation in connecting these 
people through the 'Atiat (or 'Atawani) Beduin of the Thebaid 2 
with the Beni 'Atia of Arabia, whose name so frequently occurs in 
conjunction with that of the Guhayna, Fezara and Beni Hilal. 

The fact that the 'Atawia in Kordofan all use the brand Y 
and that the Beni 'Atia of Arabia use A merely strengthens the 
conviction 3 . 

At the time of the Hilalian invasion, in which, it will be remem- 
bered, the Fezara also took part, the Beni 'Atia were reckoned a 
section of the Athbeg, the largest branch of the Beni Hilal, and 
settled in the Algerian province of Constantine 4 . Ibn Khaldun says 
they there became enfeebled and disappeared ; and if a large number 
of them detached themselves from the Beni Hilal to migrate to the 
Sudan this would account for the fact. 

However in the middle of the nineteenth century there were some 
3000 of them in Constantine and some 500 in the Sahara. They are 
regarded there as Berbers 5 . 

1 Leo, 1, 144. Marmol (c. 1520 a. d., Bk. I, Vol. I, p. 80) borrows this account 
without acknowledgment from Leo and adds that they had 10,000 infantry as well. 

2 Klippel, pp. 5 and 8. He speaks of them as "d'origine berbere" and groups 
them with the Beni Wasil. 

3 There are still many Beni 'Atia in Arabia. Palgrave in 1862 computed their 
numbers at about 6000. He places them in the northern H e gaz between el Jowf 
and Muwayla and says they and the H arD infest the pilgrim road to Medina (Vol. II, 
pp. 86 and 208, and map in Vol. 1). Doughty {Wanderings..., pp. 164, 175, 278) 
mentions them as subject to H^yil and living with the Guhayna near Tayma. 
Wallin (q.v. p. 310) met them with the Ma'aza in el Hi sm a east of Muwayla and at 
Tebuk. For their brand see Doughty, Travels, 1, 125. 

4 See Ibn Khaldun, ed. de Slane, pp. 28 fT. 

5 Carette, p. 445. The Fezara are mentioned in company with them. 


The 'Atawia of Kordofan are generally considered to be Ka- 
wahla by origin, but this may mean no more than that when the bulk 
of the Kawahla joined the Kababish 1 the 'Atawia came with them. 

There are also cattle-owning 'Atawia farther south among the 
Rizaykat Bakkara, and we have already seen that " 'Ati'a" is one of 
the most generally accepted and best known of the traditional Bak- 
kara ancestors. 

VI The Nurab, the richest and also the ruling section of the Kaba- 
bi'sh, claim to be properly Rikabia from el 'Afat in Dongola 2 . The 
Seragab are said to be Ken an a 3 . The Berara are Ga'aliin 4 . The 
Awlad Sulayman say they are an offshoot of the great tribe of the 
same name which was once settled between the Great Syrtes and 
Fezzan and which terrorized Borku Bornu and Kanem in the nine- 
teenth century 5 . 

The Awlad '(3n, a sheep-owning section round Gabra, were 
probably identical, some generations ago, with the '£)nia branch of 
the Shai'kia. 

The 'Awai'da 6 say their eponymous ancestor 'Aid was a famous 
"feki" from Aden. As they do not appear under their present name 
in the manuscripts one might be apt to suppose that they were new- 
comers to Africa, who since their arrival had absorbed the families 
of Bega Kanuz and Shaiki'a 7 which are to be found among them. 
But it is much more likely that the true 'Awaida, who have absorbed 
these foreign families, are of common stock with the 'Aidab of Don- 
gola, whom we have met previously both among the Shaiki'a and the 

For a time the 'Awai'da were with the Rufa'a in the East between 
the Rahad the Binder and the Atbara rivers, and a certain number 
of them remain there still 8 . But the greater number crossed the river 
and joined the Kababish. This probably occurred about the beginning 
of the nineteenth century 9 . 

1 Q.v. sub Kawahla (Chap. 5 to follow). 

2 See D 1 cxiii. 3 Cp. sub Kenana (Chap. 6). 

4 They probably joined the Kababish comparatively recently. They alone of 
all the sections brand their camels on the left side. 

5 See note to Tunisi's Voy. au Ouaddy, p. 660; also for a full account of them 
see Carbou, 1, 85-103, and 31-35, and Barth, Vol. Ill, Chap. XL, pp. 61 ff. Those 
now settled in the Chad region are of the Tripolitan Arab type. 

6 Sing. 'Afdi. 7 Viz. the 'Adlanab section. 

8 The only sections I have met have been some Kanzab and Musiab at 'Id 
el 'Awaida in el Kamlin district. 

9 Their division into Zurruk and Bayyid {i.e. dark and light) has reference to 
the colour of their camels and not to themselves. Dark camels are the rule among 
the "south and middle tribes, Harb, Metayr, and Ateyban" in Arabia (Doughty, 
Wanderings..., 11, 125). 


VII The subdivisions of the Kababish are as follows: 1 

III. 4. VII. 






NOrAb 2 


I (a) Ayayid 




1 (/) Um Sirayh 
DAr Kebir 
DAr Um Bakhi't 
AwlAd el Kir 
Dar Sa'bd 


(a) NAs Wad Yusef 

NAs Wad ShethAn 
NAs Wad Dukushayn 

AwlAd 'Awad el SiD 

AwlAd NuAi 

HowArAb 3 

(a) AwlAd DAbo 

(b) „ 'Ali 

(c) Rahuda 
AwlAd HawAl 4 
i. DAr Hamid 

2. DAr Mahmud 







C. Awlad '(3n 5 
DAr el HAg 
TamAsi'h 6 

D. Awlad Terayf 7 
i. MeraykAt 

2. 'fsHAB 

3. 'Alowna 8 

4. GerAmda 

E. GhilayAn 7 

F. TowAl 9 

G. 'AwAida 10 

1 . El ' AwAida el Zurruk 

(a) NAs Walad Rahma 

(b) „ „ Makbul 
, (c) „ ,, el HilAli 
Y(J) „ „ RAbih 
1(e) „ „ el Beshir 

(/) „ „ el Ni'ama 

2. El 'AwAida el Bayyid 

(a) BishArAb 

(b) 'AdlAnAb 
\(c) SununAb 


1 The list given by Parkyns includes also Ahamda (" Lahamdy"), Guhayna, 
Kawahla, Batahfn, Shenabla, Kerriat and Ghazaya, all of which have now broken 
away. In each case it was only a section of these tribes which was living under the 
aegis of the Kababish at the time. 

2 Their distinctive camel-brand is the "ba'ag" ("rip in the belly"), a long 
horizontal line on the right side of the stomach. Nearly all add one or two short 
"dhira'as" on the foreleg. For details re these and other Kababish camel-brands 
see my Camel Brands..., pp. 16 et seq. 

3 These include an element of Doalib (Rikabia or Danagla). 

* Their distinctive brand is a " Ku'" (a mark on the upper joint of the foreleg). 
"Ku'" = a joint. 

5 Probably of Shaikia origin. See p. 220, and p. 99 for the Lababis among the 
FQr. There are "Awlad 'Ona" Beduin in Egypt (see Klippel, p. 6). 

fi I.e. " Crocodiles." 

7 Both sections use an " 'amud" as brand on the right side of the camel's 

8 Cp. list of subsections of Beni Helba and of Kenana. 

9 Connected on the one hand with the Rufa'a (q.v.) and on the other with the 
Shabarka (q.v. sub Rufa'a). Their brand is the "shabiil," or " shaiba" (q.v. on 
pp. 210 and 280). 

10 Their brand is a very long "shdbit" on the right shoulder. 


.4. vm THE GUH 




'Atawia 1 


Seragab 5 

i. Farisab 

1. Dar Sa'ad 

2. BakarAb 

2. Ganadba 

3. DAr 'Ali 

3. Derimia 

(a) Dar SulaymAn 

4. Mahalab 

4. Manofalab 

5. NAs Wad el Fezari 


6. Ghegayria 

6. Shiga yab 

7. ShukhunAb 


Awlad 'Ukba 


. RowAhla 6 

1. Dariab 

1 . DAr Abu Ginna 

2. Dar 'Ali 

2. DAr Gami'a 

3. Shilaywab 

3. NishAba 

4. Hamdab 

4. MesArAb 

5. Dar 'Omar 

5. GegAdil 

6. Dar Abu Nisay'a 

6. 'AwAi'dAb 

7. Karasob 



8. Shenashim 

1. RahOdAb 

9. Dar Muhammad 

2. TeraykAt 

10. Sa'adullAb, or Sa'adi'a 2 

3. BishAra 


BerAra 3 


AwlAd SulaymAn 

1. Um Ghaybish 

1. GhanAwAb 

2. NAs Atayrinna 

2. DAr Musa'ad 

3. 'ASAYFIR 4 

3. AbbAtin 

4. NAs Wad Matar 

4. AwlAd Hamdulla 

5, Dar 'Ali 


Bashi'r 7 

6. Zeragni 


'IsAwia 8 


VIII The above sections of KabAbish are all in Kordofan. The 
following, of whom the Um Matu are the largest and the ruling clan, 
are in Dongola Province. A certain number of them are sedentary, 
but the majority are nomadic and occupy the Kab valley west of the 
river. They contain many elements of Mahass and other Danagla. 

A. Um Matu 9 

(a) GhodayrAb 

(b) BelulAb 

c) 'AzozAb 
\ (d) DAr Ahmad 
e) Um Kelba 

1 For their brand see above. 

2 Probably Mahass, see ABC VIII. 

3 Ga'aliin : see above. Their brand is a long " 'amud" on the left side of the neck. 

4 I.e. "Sparrows." 

5 Kenana: see above. Their brand is a " hadd" on the right side of the throat, 
resembling that of the Awlad 'Ukba. 

6 Sing. "Rahli." Their brand is a " shura" across the throat. 

7 There is a small independent tribe of Bashir, semi-nomadic, in Darfur. These 
latter are cattle-owners and live immediately south of el Fasher (see p. 296). 

8 Properly Gamu'ia (q.v.). Few in number and attached to the eastern sections 
of Kababish. 

9 Cognate to the Seragab. Their brand is an '"asaba" ("sinew") on the right 
foreleg. The Gungonab also use the " 'asaba." 

3 H THE GUHAYNA GROUP in.4.viii. 

B. Meraysab 1 G. BilaylAt 

C. Gungonab H. Dar Bashut 

D. 'AwAida J. DelAdim 

E. BAy'udab K. DAr HAmid 2 

F. AhaymerAb 

IX It has been mentioned that the NurAb are at present the ruling 
section. They have held that position for eight generations, that is to 
say since Kurban of the Ribaykat surrendered the chieftainship to 
his sister's son Keradim of the Nurab 3 , whose descendants have since 
inherited it in succession to one another though not always from 
father to son 4 . 

X The Kababi'sh are first mentioned by Bruce in 1768- 1773, but 
so few travellers had visited the Sudan before him, and the records 
of such as did so are so scanty that one certainly cannot assume that 
the tribe was not called Kababi'sh for scores of years previously. 

Speaking of Wad 'Agib's collecting tribute, as the representative 
of the King of Sennar, from the nomads of the Bayuda desert, Bruce 
says 5 : "though lately the Beni Gerar, Beni Faisara [i.e. Fezara] and 
Cubbabeesh have expelled the ancient Arabs 6 of Bahiouda [i.e. the 
Bayuda], who pretend now only to be the subjects of Kordofan." 
Again, he says 7 that the road across the Bayuda is impassable 
because of the "Beni Faisara, Beni Gerar and Cubbabeesh... which 
come from the westward near Kordofan from fear of the black 
horse 8 there," and have taken all the wells. The Kababish are 
"very numerous and extend far north into the great desert Selima 
and to the frontiers of Egypt 9 ." 

Browne 10 says of them that they infested the vicinity of Bir el 
Malha (i.e. Bir Natrun) in his day and lived by plundering the 
caravans from Egypt. 

El Tunisi 11 says they assisted Hashim, the Sultan of the Musa- 
ba'at of Kordofan, in his wars against Ti'rab, Sultan of Darftir, 
towards the close of the eighteenth century. 

Burckhardt 12 in 1813, referring to Dongola, says: "The Bedouin 
tribe of Kobabish reside in the country and are continually making 
incursions into Darfour, from whence they carry off slaves." 

1 Use a " hadd" as brand. 

2 Use a " hildl' " ("crescent moon") on the neck. 

3 Note this evidence of the ancient custom of Dongola whereby the sister's 
son inherits. 

4 See MacMichael, Tribes..., p. 194, and genealogical tree opposite. 

5 Vol. vi, Chap. x. 

6 Probably such as the Kerriat are meant. 7 hoc. cit. 

8 Probably the cavalry of the Fur, then paramount in northern Kordofan. 

9 Bruce, loc. cit. 10 Pp. 188 and 247. 
11 Voy. au Darfour, p. 67. 12 Nubia, p. 67. 

in. 4. xi. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 315 

Cailliaud (1821) mentions them as exporting salt from northern 
Kordofan and, when the Turks conquered the Sudan, pretending 
to submit but paying none of the tribute demanded of them. 

In the Turkish days they were largely engaged in the transport 
trade, but were fleeced and swindled unmercifully by the Turks who 
had always the advantage of being able to seize the Kababish herds 
when the hot weather drove them to the river and the well-known 
watering-places 1 . 

In 1883 the Mahdi seized el Tom, the head sheikh, and beheaded 
him. Many of the Kababish sections then joined the Dervishes, but 
the Nurab and some others retired into the deserts and defied them 
under Salih Bey Fadlulla. 

Salih Bey was killed near Gebel el 'Ain in 1887, and until the 
reoccupation the Kababish practically ceased to exist as a corporate 
entity. Then, however, they collected in their deserts and took 
advantage of the unsettled state of affairs to raid the Hamar and 
Zayadia, their quondam foes, who had all been Dervishes, and so 
enormously increased their wealth in stock. 

The present chief of the tribe, which is now richer than at any 
previous period, is 'Ali the son of the el Tom beheaded in 1883. 

XI To sum up: the Kababish, for so long as anything is known 
about them at all, have been a widely distributed but coherent camel- 
owning congeries roaming the steppes between Dongola and Darfur. 
The chief difference between the tribe of the present day and that of 
the nineteenth and previous centuries is that it is less vexed by the 
competition of other tribes in its spacious grazing grounds. 

The Beni Gerar have been forced southwards and have become 
semi-sedentary. The Dar Hamid too have built villages in their own 
country to the south and only send a small proportion of their popu- 
lation to the grazing grounds of the Kababish. The Zayadia nomads 
are decimated in number : a few graze with the Dar Hamid in Kordo- 
fan ; the rest are either sedentary or live in Darfur. The Hawawir are 
on fairly amicable terms with the Kababish and graze almost where 
they will with them. Such raiding as is done is at the expense of the 
wild Bedayat, Kura'an and Midobis of northern Darfur, and takes 

1 See Pallme and Parkyns. The latter says the Kababish of Kordofan were 
" taxed 2000 camels, which impost is now changed into the carriage of 4000 
loads of gum from Al Obeid to Dongola," and also 100 horses, and 2000 dollars of 
i5pt. (collected not in cash but in smooth-paced riding camels assessed by the 
Turks at about a quarter of their real value), and a certain number of sheep and 
the price of fifty slaves. Salim Fadlulla, the head of the tribe, had met Muhammad 
'Ali Pasha in Khartoum in 1838-9 and obtained certain concessions, but they were 
of little real value. In 1858, according to Petherick (Upper Egypt, p. 328), the tribe's 
annual tribute to Egypt was 5000 camels. 

316 THE GUHAYNA GROUP iii.4.xi. 

place far to the north of the Wadi el Melik, in the cold winter months. 
So far from appearing to tend towards a more sedentary existence, the 
Kababish, as their herds have increased under the Pax Britannica, 
have, if anything, become more universally nomadic 1 . 


XII From the word "Moghrabi," the singular of Mogharba or 
Mograbin, through the Latin Maurus, has arisen the anglicized 
"Moor," and from "Moghrab el Aksa," "the extreme west," the 
name "Morocco." It must not, however, be assumed that all the 
Mogharba in Egypt or the Sudan came from Morocco : it is unlikely 
that any of them, a certain number of individuals of the merchant 
class excepted, did so. 

The term was loosely applied during the time of the later Mam- 
luks and of Muhammad 'AH Pasha to all the Beduin tribesmen who 
lived west of Egypt. Take, for instance, the following from Burck- 
hardt 2 : 

The temple of Ebsambal 3 serves as a place of refuge to the inhabitants 
of Ballyane, and the neighbouring Arabs, against a Moggrebyn tribe of 
Bedouins, who regularly, every year, make incursions into these parts 4 . 
They belong to the tribes which are settled between the Great Oasis and 
Siout. When they set out, they repair first to Argo, where they commence 
their predatory course, plundering all the villages on the western bank of 
the river; they next visit Mahass, Sukkot, Batn el Hadjar, Wadi Haifa, the 
villages opposite Derr, and lastly Dakke; near the latter place, they ascend 
the mountain, and return through the desert towards Siout. The party 
usually consists of about one hundred and fifty horsemen, and as many 
camel-riders: no one dares oppose them in Nubia; on the contrary the 
governors pay them a visit, when they arrive opposite to Derr, and make 
them some presents. The incursions of this tribe are one of the principal 
reasons why the greater part of the western bank of the Nile is deserted. 

XIII It was from such Mogharba that the armies of Isma'i'l Pasha 
and of the Defterdar were largely recruited preparatory to the con- 
quest of the Sudan 5 . That the Berber element was perhaps as strong 
as the Arab in these Mogharba will be clear from preceding chapters, 
but there is no reason on that account to consider the term "Arab" 

1 For a discussion of this point by a comparison of present conditions with 
those described by Parkyns in 1850, see my Tribes..., pp. 189 ff. 

2 Nubia, p. 92. 3 I.e. Abu Simbel. 

* Burckhardt notes elsewhere (p. lxxvii) "The Arabs who inhabit Thebes and 
the adjacent country, are originally Moggrebyns." See also Volney, Travels..., 


5 See Cailliaud, 11, 50, 51. He defines them thus: " Les Arabes Mohgrebins 
sont ceux qui habitent la cote de Barbarie la plus rapprochee de l'Egypte." 


as less applicable to them than to the generality of the nomad tribes 
of the northern Sudan. 

During the Turkish period a steady stream of these Mogharba 
was poured into the Sudan and nearly all of these remained there as 
irregular cavalry and police, being employed in slave-hunting forays, 
tax-collecting, etc. 1 A certain number also settled in the towns and 
villages as traders or cultivators. 

XIV At the same time it is clear that even more Mogharba were, 
previous to the Turkish conquest, already established on the Blue 
Nile and elsewhere, and these may, to some small extent, have acted 
as the decoy which led a few of the later arrivals to take up their 
abode in the same district. 

Cailliaud, who accompanied Isma'il Pasha's expedition, found 
these Sudanese Mogharba established at Soba, Wad el Shaib, 
el Kamh'n and Abu 'Ushera, all of which are within a hundred miles 
of Khartoum 2 ; and there is still a large nomadic camel-owning tribe 
of Mogharba between Soba Abu Delayk and the Butana which has 
been established there for many generations 3 . This tribe bears no 
resemblance in features or mode of life to the colonies formed of 
descendants of Moghrabin or Mogharba who entered the Sudan in 
the nineteenth century and subsequently. The latter 4 are recog- 
nizable by their sallow-pinkish complexions and general resemblance 
to the Moorish tribesmen of the North African littoral as they are 
to be seen in the coast towns at present, whereas the nomad Mogh- 
arba of the Sudan are hardly to be distinguished from the average 
nomads and are, if anything, rather darker in complexion than they. 

XV These Mogharba claim descent from, that is to say may have 
some vague connection with, a certain Ahmad Zarruk, a Sherifi of 
the Shadhali sect in Tunis, and the nisba-writers bear out their 
contention 5 . The only detailed genealogical tree I have seen, that of 

1 See Pallme, pp. 207-212, and Werne, pp. 138-139, where good descriptions 
of them are given. 

2 He calls them (n, 207-211) "Arabes Maq'arbehs," and it is significant that 
it apparently did not occur to him that the name was identical with that of the 
" Mohgrebins " whom he describes elsewhere as accompanying the army as 
irregulars. The c (gh) and the J> {k, or q) are so often confused together in the 

Sudan as to be almost interchangeable in proper names, but the same is not the 
case in Egypt. Hence the correct preservation of the £ in "Mohgrebins" and its 

alteration to a Jf in the case of the " Maq'arbehs" who had been some time in the 

3 A few of them are also settled in the Gezfra near Manakil and elsewhere. 

4 At el Fasher in particular there is a large and recent mercantile community 
of Moghrabin commonly called " Fezzan." 

5 See, e.g., D 1 clxxiv, clxxv. 



III. 4. XV. 

the li, omda" Fag el Nur of the Desisab section, traces his descent 
through a series of Sayyids, including Ahmad Zarriik, to the Imam 
'Ali in thirty-two generations, but there is no reason to assume that 
the tree is much better than a detailed fake 1 . 

The common tradition in the tribe is that they immigrated from 
the neighbourhood of Fez "some five hundred years ago," or "in 
the days of Soba." They claim much of the rainland behind the 
village of Soba to belong to them, and even allowing that it is with an 
eye to substantiating their claim to cultivation-rights that they desire 
to imply to a Government official that they are the earliest owners, 
and have been there since the days of the Christian kingdom of 'Aloa, 
there is nothing inherently improbable in their claim, and one has at 
least fairly good evidence, the biography of 'Abdulla Wad Hasoba 
el Moghrabi 2 , that some of them have lived there since the sixteenth 
century. The darkness of their complexion proves a long sojourn in 
the south, and it is even possible that some of their ancestors were 
once the inhabitants of those hostels which Ibn Selim describes as 
inhabited by Muhammadans at Soba towards the close of the tenth 
century a.d. 3 
XVI The main sections of the nomad MoghArba are as follows : 


HasobAb 4 



Chiefly to 
the east 
of Khartoum 

Between Abu 
Delayk and 









Chiefly in 
the Gezi'ra 

Near Abu 

The camel-brand of these MoghArba is the "timaysih," a hori- 
zontal line under the right eye. The word is the diminutive of " tim- 
sdh," a crocodile, and to the MoghArba the brand as described sug- 
gests a crocodile lying asleep on the river bank 5 . 

1 Curiously enough Fag el Nur himself has the sallow complexion and strikingly 
Jewish cast of countenance of a modern Moor. This may well be due to careful 
preservation of the blood of the ruling family from all contamination with purely 
Sudanese admixture. 

2 See D 3 36 and 141. 

3 See p. 171. 

4 I.e. descendants of the Wad Hasoba mentioned above. 

6 Compare the cases of the Hawawfr (Chap. 8) and Kababish who both include 
a section called "Tamasih" ("Crocodiles"). 

in. 4. xviii. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 319 

(c) THE HAMAR 1 

XVII The nisbas say little of the Hamar, and that little is con- 
tradictory. One account 2 says they are a branch of Beni Tamim; 
another 3 that they are a mixture of Beni Ommayya, Beni 'Abbas, 
'Anag, Ashraf and Fur; two others 4 say they belong to the Guhayna 

The tradition among the Gharaysia section of the tribe is that 
they are Himyarites from el Yemen who migrated into the Sudan in 
the time of Haggag ibn Yusef, i.e. in the second half of the seventh 
century. They crossed the Red Sea, it is said, and settled first round 
Taka {i.e. Kassala) : then they moved to the Blue Nile ; and then, after 
awhile, to Darfur 5 , where they took up a more permanent abode. 

The story of their sojourn round Taka lends a certain support to 
the tradition — otherwise unsupported — of their connection with the 
Hamran Arabs of that district 6 ; and the coincidence between the 
name of their commonest camel-brand, the " shabiil," and that of the 
Shabul section of the Manasi'r — a tribe alleged by Sir C. Wilson to 
be related to the 'Ababda — is a small piece of evidence in favour of 
their alleged movement from the direction of the Red Sea 7 . 

XVIII Our knowledge of their history in Darfur remains practically 
a blank until the beginning of the last century when they attained to 
a considerable power under the leadership of a certain el Hag 
Muna'am of the 'Asakira division 8 . It is not improbable that as a 
tribal entity they had hardly existed previously and that by origin 
they were simply a conglomeration of various Arabs who decided to 
colonize the almost well-less tracts where good crops can be grown, 
but where the chief water-supply is derived from melons and water 
stored in the hollow trunks of baobabs 9 during the rainy season. It 
is variously alleged among the Hamar either that Mekki, the son, or 
Ibrahim el Melih, the great-grandson, of el Hag Muna'am, was the 
first man to inaugurate the practice of hollowing the baobab and 

1 Much of the information here presented is taken from Chap, xn of The 
Tribes of Northern and Central Kordofdn. But details have also been added from a 
short account of the Hamar compiled from their oral traditions by 'Abd el Wahhdb 
Ahmad 'Awadulla, headmaster of el Nahud school in 1913. 

2 See D 1 xxviii. 3 See D 1 cxlviii. 

4 See BA lxxviii and ABC li. The Hamar are also found classed with the 

5 Darfur at that time comprised what is at present western Kordofdn, i.e. the 
country west of el Nahud. The Hamar were for long in the neighbourhood of Um 
Shanka on both sides of the present boundary. 6 See BA lxxviii. 

7 So, too, the Beni Fadl, who are closely related to the Manasir, contain a section 
called Hadarma {i.e. Hadareb). 

8 Riippellin 1824-5 met mm ("Hadgi Minhim") in Kordofdn (Reisen..., p. 148). 

9 The " tubeldi" : Adansonia digitata. 

3 20 THE GUHAYNA GROUP iii.4.xviil 

using it as a reservoir, thus rendering habitable vast tracts hitherto 
useless 1 . But as a matter of fact one occasionally finds (more often 
in the west than in the east) an old tree in which the opening is 
differently placed to that usually made by the Hamar, and the work 
is then attributed to the 'Anag. On this, if on no other ground, one 
would suppose that the use of the baobab for water-storage is fairly 
ancient, but died out, and was revived by the Hamar as the necessity 
arose for them to expand. As they progressed eastwards they cer- 
tainly tapped virgin areas. 

XIX As soon as the Hamar became at all powerful they parted into 
two main divisions, the 'Asakira {i.e. "Soldiers") and the Dekakim, 
and very shortly afterwards — probably about the time of the Turkish 
conquest of Kordofan — the bulk of both moved eastwards as a result 
of quarrels with the other Arab tribes of eastern Darfur 2 and the 
insufficiency of their own territories there. 

Those of them who stayed behind round Um Shanka and the 
districts now known as Dam Gamad 3 and Zernakh 4 , etc., remained 
independent under Darfur 5 . 

The rest pushed eastwards, and the family of el Hag Muna'am 
settled more or less permanently round Farshaha 6 , and that of the 
Sheikh of the Dekakim in Shek el Dud 7 , farther to the west. But 
their people remained nomad between el Odaya and Foga, and east- 
wards as far as Abu Haraz and Gebel Abu Sinun, and in the rains 
sought more distant grazing grounds along the Wadi el Melik with 
the Kababish, Beni Gerar, Zayadia and Dar Hamid, and even 
raided as far east as the Bayuda desert 8 . 

The result was that every year in the rains and winter the Hamar 
found themselves engaged in a series of petty inter-tribal raids and 
forays, which in their traditions are glorified under the name of wars 9 . 

1 For many generations there have been wells at Um Shanka, but the country 
east of it was a desert until about the middle of the nineteenth century when the 
baobabs were exploited. There were no wells at el Nahud until the Dervish epoch. 
The " tubeldi" in western Kordofan is usually called a " homraia'''' — presumably 
because the bark has a pink-red sheen over it and the fibre has a dull brick 
colour. That the tribe especially concerned with these trees should be called 
"Hamar" (i.e. "red") is probably no more than a coincidence. 

2 Cp. Pallme, p. 142. 

3 Meaning "blood has clotted." Fights for "tubeldis," etc., were very frequent 
there. 4 The name of a fly. fl Cp. Cuny, p. 190. 

6 Cp. Petherick, Upper Egypt..., p. 314, and Cuny, pp. 189-190. 

7 Literally "Lion's Valley." 8 Cuny, p. 65. 

9 In the "war" with Dar Hamid, it is said, each side was accompanied by a 
poet who encouraged his own people by the recital of verses. The Hamar say 
maliciously that the men of Dar H^mid were so utterly destroyed that their women 
went round in a band to neighbouring tribes offering themselves in marriage at a 
reduced dowry, and only so kept the tribe in existence. 

in. 4. xxi. THE GUHAYNA GROUP 321 

The most serious and numerous of these were with the Kababish, 
with whom the Hamar were at perpetual feud 1 . 

The power of the Hamar increased so rapidly that by 1876 Ensor 
considered them " the richest of all the nomads in this part of Africa, 
far exceeding in number the nomad portion of the Kabbabbeesh, 
and almost equalling the whole of that tribe including the settlers on 
the banks of the Nile 2 ." They lost nearly all their wealth in the Der- 
vish days, and at the reoccupation the Kababish looted from them 
much of what was left. 

XX They are now almost entirely sedentary, but fairly rich in camels 
and sheep. They occupy large tracts of gum forest and cultivation 
north of el Odaya Abu Zabad and Abu Haraz, and west of Abu 
Sinun and Mazrub. 

None of the Hamar remain in Darfiir, if one except a small colony 
of Sahanin (Awlad Sahnun) who live with the Zaghawa in the 
north round Hashaba and are said to be Hamar in origin. 

The 'Asakira, the Dekak^m, and the Gharaysia, of whom the 
last-named split away from the Dekakim between 1873 and 1877, 
are now each under a separate ndzir. 

XXI The subdivisions of the Hamar are as follows : 

[. El 'Asakira 

A. El Ghishimat 

1. Awlad Gami'a 

((a) Awlad Ma'ayz 
[ (b) Shenabir 

1 (c) Gharara 
[(d) Marazik 3 



3. Awlad Ma'ali 

4. „ Ghasi 

.5. „ 'Ali 

B. Beni Badr 

fi. Meramra 4 

(a) Milaha 
[2. Sa'adat 

(a) Awlad Ghanum 

(b) Mahalhil 


(c) NAs Zayd 

(d) „ EL SOL 

(e) „ Matlub 

1 Cp. Petherick, Upper Egypt..., p. 316, and Cuny, pp. 64-67. 

9 ' Ensor, p. 86. The " dhia" (blood-money) for murder at this period is said to 
have been 100 camels, of which the sheikh took thirty. 

3 Plural of Marzuk, i.e. = Awlad Marzuk. The same name occurs among the 
subdivisions of the Mahass and of the Gawama'a. * Dar Ilamid in origin. 

M.S. 1. 21 



III. 4. XXI 

C. El KhamsAt 

"1. Mayamin 

j(a) AwlAd Subuh 


2. MenAdir 

3. GikhaysAt 1 

(a) Um Haysin 


(b) Awlad DhiAb 


(c) Abu DAn 

(d) MERAHiL 

(e) NAs Muamar 

4. MenAna 

^5. KhayraysAt 

D. El TarAdAt 

i. Dama'i 

r (a) SubayhAt 

(1) NAs S6deri 

(b) Gelada 

(c) TayAisa 

(1) AwlAd 'Ali 

(2) GawAbra 


(3) Nowara 

(4) 'ABBAsiA 


(d) Fawadil 

(e) Ghanaymia 2 

(1) NAs Abu Gebel 

(2) „ 'Ali 

(3) „ BelAl 
U) „ Gamu'a 3 

(/) NoaykAt 

( g) AwlAd Khadra 

Ah) 'AbAdia 

[(i) NAs Abu Guma'a 
[(2) Gerayni 

II. El DekakIm 

A. WAilia 4 

,1. NAs HAzil 

2. „ EL HURR 

3. „ Abu Hamaydan 


4. „ Hamir 

5. „ Harush 

6. „ Raha 

7- » 

Abu 7 


8. Abu GemAnIn 

1 Originally Shendbla 'Awamra. 2 Originally Gawama'a. 3 Cp. Gamu'fa. 
4 Said to be related to the Kawahla, but not to be confused with the Walfa 
(q.v. D 3, 2 note). There are also Beni Wail west of Darfur (see Carbou, II, 14). 

III. 4. XXI. 




NAs Abu Zayd 

, 1 . Nas Sari 

( /(«) Nas Gabr 


1 2. Nas 'Abd el SalAm 

I3. „ Faragulla 

^4. „ Abu Tenu 


El Sha'ibAt 


Awlad Shadwan 


,, 'Amir 


,, Bur'as 


,, SlHAIA 

1 . Nas el Sod 

2. ,, Feraywa 


3. „ RlBAYH 

4. „ Abu Na'amir 


6. „ Khala 


El Gema'ania 


El Gharaga 

III. El Gharaysia 


El HadAhda 

, 1 . Awlad Hammad 

2. Awlad Um Butnayn 


4. Awlad SherIf 

5. Awlad Nimr 

6. Bera'i'm 


Awlad Shighan 

1 . Nas IsMA'f l 

2. Um Kisayba 

3. NAs Nusr 


4. „ Abu Merakih 

5. „ Muhammad 

6. HomrAn 


Awlad Guayd 

f 1 . NAs Abu Higaywa 

2. NAs Turfa 

3. Awlad 'Adi 


4. HabAbish 

5. NAs Murmi 

6. Sa'adia 

7. Awlad GAbir 

^8. NAs SahArif 




1 These are not Hamar by race, though subject to them. They are said to be 
Korobat (see Chap. 8). 


The Kawdhla Group 


I The Kawahla are invariably connected in tradition with Zubayr 
ibn el 'Awwam of the tribe of Kusai, one of the first and most famous 
converts to Islam, slain at the " Battle of the Camel" in 656 a.d. 2 

There is no doubt that the nucleus of the tribe entered the Sudan 
by way of the Red Sea, but the period of their immigration is not 
known. They are first mentioned by Ibn Batiita as inhabiting the 
country round Suakin in 1353 and speaking the Bega tongue 3 . 

It is common for such of the Bisharin and 'Ababda as claim an 
Arab descent to speak of their tribes as descended from " Kahl," and 
the Kawahla reciprocate by including the Bisharin and 'Ababda, 
and sometimes even the Beni 'Amir or Um 'Ar'ar ("Amarar"), 
under the term Kawahla 4 . 

There can be little doubt that there is a strong Arab element 
common to all three tribes. 

II At the present day the Kawahla are widely distributed, but 
they fall into two main groups. The most important and united of 
these are the very rich nomad camel-owning tribe of Kordofan. 
Until the Dervish revolt these formed a branch of the Kababish and 
had probably moved westwards and joined that tribe shortly before 
the Turkish conquest. It is improbable that they did so very much 
earlier, since, had they done so, they must in the course of years have 
become more firmly welded into the tribal whole, to the detriment of 
their own individuality, than was ever the case 5 . 

1 Sing. Kahli. 

2 The name Kahil was not uncommon in Arabia. Wiistenfeld mentions five 
persons of this name. From one of them, Kahil ibn Asad, were descended the 
Kahilia (q.v. Abu el Fida, pp. 196-7), but there is nothing further to connect these 
with the Kawahla now in the Sudan. The word "Kahala" (^J^a) in the Sudan 
means "to clear out [a well]," i.e. to remove the muddy deposit at the bottom. 

3 See p. 188. 

* Wilkinson (p. 386) and Tremaux (1, 169) respectively mention "Gowal£eh" 
and " Kawoali " among the chief divisions of the 'Ababda. In a list of these divisions 
by Mr Jennings Bramly I find the name as " Gawalia." 

5 The 'Atawia section of Kababish are said to be Kawahla by origin, but 
probably joined the Kababish long before the rest of the Kawahla. In consequence 
they have become an integral part of the former tribe and did not leave it in the 
"M undid." 

III. 5. IV. 



The other main group of Kawahla, though more numerous, 
forms a much less coherent whole, and while certain sections of it 
lead a nomadic life south of Sennar and on the banks of the Atbara 
theDinder and theRahad, many others have become entirely sedentary 
and have built villages on the White Nile, in the Gezira, and as far 
east as the Abyssinian border. 

III Travellers to the Sudan in the eighteenth and nineteenth cen- 
turies speak of the Kawahla ("Cohala," " Kaouahlehs," etc.) as one 
of the chief tribes east of the Blue Nile 1 . 

Burckhardt 2 and Cailliaud both mention that about 1814-1819 
they and the Shukria were at mortal feud with the Ga'aliin tribes 
to the east of Shendi and on the Atbara. 

IV The subdivisions of the Kordofan division are as follows : 

A. Dar Hamid 

B. El Berakna 

C. El Halayifa 

D. El Bedariin 

E. El 'Ababda 

1. Hashuna 

2. awlad gerays 




F. Um 'Amar 

G. Dar Bahr 

1 . NAs wad el Matayrik 

2. NAs wad el Azrak 



1 . NAs WAD el Misayk 

2. NAs Bab 

3. Um Radi 

4. Nafar 

fi. Awlad el Sheikh 
[2. Awlad el Dibayd 

H. El Bekayrab Ci. Awlad Sulayman 
1 2. Awlad Adam 
[3. Kurun 

J. El Gihaymab 3 

K. El Ghazaya j 1. El 'Omarat 

[2. Awlad Terayf 

L. El Nifaydia (1. El Utiab 
1 2. El Mulkab 
(3. El Kuara 

Of these several are not true Kawahla. The rich 'Ababda section 
are an offshoot of the tribe of that name from the eastern deserts ; but 

1 See, e.g., Bruce, iv, 416; Cailliaud, II, 236; III, 71, 108, etc. 

2 Nubia, p. 346. 

3 A few nomad Gihaymab also occur in Berber district. 

326 THE KAWAHLA GROUP iils.iv. 

it is noteworthy that they held the sheikhship of the whole tribe for 
two generations 1 . 

The Dar Hamid, who hold the sheikhship at the present day and 
are the wealthiest of all the sections, belong to the Guhayna group 2 
and joined the Kawahla after the advent of the latter to Kordofan. 

These western Kawahla spend the dry season (December to 
June) in the Khayran near Bara, unless they have been able, by digging 
wells at Um Badr, to defer their retirement south-east for another 
month or two. They graze their herds in the Khayran and there- 
abouts free of payment, but as having no proprietary rights they are 
compelled to pay for the water they draw from the wells. Cultivation 
they have none 3 . When the rains fall the whole tribe moves north- 
westwards to the neighbourhood of the Wadi el Melik and remain 
there for so long as grass and water permit 4 . 

V The eastern Kawahla are not composed of sections whose 
parentage is entirely distinct from that of the western group. 

They divide the whole tribe into thirteen sections each descended 
from a different son of Kahil. However, the names of these thirteen 
sons vary to some extent 5 and it is useless to attempt an accurate 
grouping of the subdivisions under their names. The best known of 
the subdivisions are the following 6 : 

[Berakna. Chiefly in Kordofan. 
- Kamalab 

[Kimaylab. A small nomad group of these also lives in Berber district. 
Marghumab 7 . A section of these is with the Shukria near Abu 

Delayk. A few others are nomadic in Darner district (Berber). 
Delaykab 8 
/Hasania 9 
'UrwAb. On the White Nile, chiefly the west bank, south of the 



1 Gadulla Balilu in the Dervish days, and his son 'Abdullah after the reoccu- 
pation till 1910. 

2 See above, p. 256. 

3 The only Kawahla cultivation west of the White Nile is that belonging to 
some sedentary 'Ababda and others in the White Nile Province. 

4 The colony of so-called Kawahla in the Nuba mountains near Gebel Kedir 
are escaped slaves or freedmen and not true Kawahla at all. 

5 See C 1 for the variations. 

6 The brackets give some indication as to which sections are most closely con- 
nected with one another. 

7 See D2, xxvn and D3, 74 ("Markumab"). 

8 See sub Batahin. 9 Dealt with separately : see later. 

Hi. 5. vi. THE KAWAHLA GROUP 327 




^ Gebalia 

f Bedariin. Chiefly in Kordofan and on the White Nile. 
[Shara'ana. Sedentary, in the Gezira. 
f 'Ababda 1 
\BishAriin 2 

'Atawia. Now a section of the Kababi'sh. 

Yezidab, or YezidIa, or Beni Yezid. A very small section. I once 
met a small encampment of them near 'Aydag living under the 
wing of the Mesallamia of Um Dubban. 

Nifaydia. Chiefly in Berber Province. Some are sedentary in the 

FuAfDA 3 




/WAlia 4 

- BAkia 

/SalAtna 3 

Muhammad Ab 


NowArAb 5 


Beni Sa'Id 

Muhammad i'a. On both sides of the White Nile: a section rich in 
cattle and sheep. 


VI Some separate account must be given of two of the above 
divisions 6 , namely, the AhAmda and the HasAnia. 

1 See above. 2 Cp. the case of the 'Ababda. 

3 The names Fuaida and Salatna occur, together with the Geraba'a (for which 
cp. BA xcvn), as names of subtribes in the peninsula of Sinai: that of the first- 
named also among the semi-nomadic tribes of Arabs north of Aswan mentioned 
by Sir C. Wilson. 

4 See D 3, 2 note. 

5 Or"Nurab." 

6 In the trees attached to C i will be found also the names of several smaller 
Kawahla sections. 



The Ahamda sometimes appear in the nisbas of the Ga'alii'n 
group, and figure there as closely akin to the Gawama'a and the 
Gima'a 1 . The Kawahla nisba shows them as Kawahla 2 . The 
Bakkara include them in their genealogies but evidently regard them 
as an inferior folk : the Humr Felaita, for instance, speak of " Ahamda 
who was raped by a Nuba " as ancestress of the Ahamda. 

The Hammada (Rufa'a) also claim the Ahamda to be descended 
from the same ancestor as themselves. The most usually accepted 
oral tradition has it that Hammad, the ancestor of the Ahamda, was 
a Kahli and that for some reason he denied his tribe and was therefore 
nicknamed "el Nuaykir" ("the little apostate"). 

The Ahamda are a semi-nomadic tribe, some of whom are in the 
northern part of the Gezira, in the Blue or the White Nile Province, 
and to the east of the Blue Nile, while others are more sedentary and 
own a considerable tract of country to the west of the White Nile, 
south of Kosti 3 . 

Many of the Ahamda are settled permanently in villages through- 
out the year; but the majority of the easternmost group, during the 
rains, push some distance eastwards to cultivate in the wddis 
between the river and the Butana and to graze their flocks. As the 
supplies of water in the hafirs and of grass diminish they retreat 
to the river. During this process quarrels usually arise between them 
and the Hasania and the Batahi'n. Having finally returned to the 
vicinity of the Blue Nile these Ahamda similarly quarrel with the 
Mesallamia Mahass and others on analogous grounds. 

They are, wherever found, but more particularly in the east, a 
small decadent and dirty type of Arab, owning a fair number of 
cattle, many sheep and goats, and a few small herds of camels. Some 
of the Ahamda who are now under the White Nile Province were, 
in pre-Mahdist days, farther west and north and formed a section 
of the Kababish 4 , but the bond between the two tribes, which was 
never more than purely artificial and utilitarian, no longer exists, 
and except for a few individuals, there are no Ahamda now in the 
steppes of northern Kordofan. 

Others used to be mixed with the Awlad Hamayd and other 

1 See BA and An. 2 See C i {a) and (b). 

3 In 1814 there were some "Hamda" in Shendi district whom Burckhardt 
(q.v. p. 345) understood to be "acknowledged as relations by the Arabs of the same 
name who inhabit the neighbourhood of Luxor and Karnak in Upper Egypt; 
Luxor has hence received the name of el Hamdye." 

4 Cp. note on p. 312. 

III. 5. VII. 



Bakkara between the White Nile and Gebel Dair, but these have 
now for the most part settled in the " ddr" south of Kosti. 
The following are some of the subdivisions of the Ahamda: 










In the Blue Nile 
Province, on either 
side of the river, 
but chiefly to the 








In the White Nile 

On the Atbara. 

In Kayli district, east 

and north-east of Khartoum. 


VII The Hasania, in spite of the enormous losses which they 
suffered in the Dervish days 1 , are the largest of the tribes which 
were originally included in the term Kawahla, but which are now 
independent of the parent stock. 

They are divided into two main groups. The first is in the White 
Nile Province and is very numerous. Those on the west bank are 
mainly a cattle-owning people and do not extend far inland from 
the river : they have large herds and form a great part of the popula- 
tion between Ketayna and el Dueim 2 . 

Those on the east bank are semi-nomadic owners of camels 
cattle and sheep, and cultivate an extensive riverain area. The 
following are some of their subdivisions: 

1. 'Imayri'a 

2. Rahmab 

3. Ghulamab 

4. RafadAb 

5. kushkushab 9. glmaylia 

6. Maghawir 10. Kasirab 

7. nagagir ii. klraymbab 


13. Nakiab 

14. HowayliAb 

15. Ganuka 

16. GODAB 

The second group of Hasania, with herds of camels and sheep 
and some cattle, wanders farther afield, north, north-east, north-west 
and east of the junction of the Niles, to the Bayiida desert and 
Gebel Gilif and Gakdul on the one hand, and to the Butana on the 
other. In Berber Province they include Karafish, NAGAGfa, 
Bilaylab, Hammadab, Hamidab, etc. 

The Husaynat are mostly on the White Nile and are divided 
into Bawazi and Shitawi'a. Both sections are semi-nomadic. 

1 See Slatin, Ch. xni. 

2 See Petherick, Central Africa..., 11, 85. 


The Kendna and Deghaym 

I KenAna. The Ken ana of the Sudan claim to be an offshoot of 
the great Kenana tribe of Arabia, and there is no reason to doubt that 
there is good foundation for their claim. But whether their Arab 
ancestors ever formed a branch of the Kenana whom we have already 
met in Egypt, or whether they immigrated quite independently by 
way of the Red Sea, is not certain: the latter supposition is the more 
probable and more in accord with their own traditions. 

In the Sudan at the present day they are for the most part Bak- 
kara, breeders of cattle and horses, and are divided by the river into 
two main divisions. One of these, the larger, owns cattle camels and 
sheep and lives south of Singa and Sennar, on either side of the Blue 
Nile, with the Rufa'a group. In the rains these move northwards, 
out of the fly infested area, to the Butana on the one side and the 
Sekadi Moya district on the other. They fall into the three groups of 
Seragia, Abu Rihan and Koatil 1 . 

The other division of Kenana grazes in Kordofan with cattle and 
sheep over parts of the same country as the far more numerous 
Hawazma. A branch of them have also found their way south into 
the Shilluk country and have settlements on the west bank of the 
Nile as far south as the tenth parallel of latitude. 

The main sections of the Kenana are given as follows by their 
tribesmen in Kordofan. 

A. Sowarab 

i. Awlad Yasin. Chiefly in the Gezira. 

2. Zoayda 

3. Isayba'a. Chiefly in the Gezira. 


1. Awlad Dali 2 . Chiefly in the Gezira. 

2. Um Belal 

3. Awlad Roaya 

4. Zaydan 

6. H^LIA } Chiefl y ln the GeZira - 

1 A subsection of the Bisharfn ('Aliab) of the Eastern Desert is also called 
Koatil (plural of Katul). The Seragfa clearly correspond to the Seragab section of 
Kababish, who claim to be of Kenana descent. 

2 Some of these live near Tekali ; others with the rest of the Kenana in Kordofan. 
The former have with them a few of the Sowarab section also. 

in. 6. ii. THE KENANA AND DEGHAYM 331 

7. Abu Rihan 1 

p x { Chiefly in the Gezira. 

10. Baylab J 

C. Asala'a 1 

1. Awlad GuberAn ^ 

2. „ Huzil 

3. Su'fJDIA 

4. 'Amaria 

5. Awlad Rishayd 

D. DA'tJDiA 

1. Manasir 

(a) NAs Hamduk 

E. Fahri'a 

F. 'Alowna 2 

Chiefly in the Gezira. A few in 

Chiefly in the Gezira. 

II The tradition is that the ancestor of the Ken ana 3 

was el Sayyid Ahmad Zabad el Bahr, a "fekir" of Mekka, descended 
from Hamza the youngest son of the Prophet's grandfather 'Abd el 
Muttalib. After his death one of his sons, Mansur, quarrelled with the 
other sons as to the succession and left Mekka for Egypt with his younger 
brother 'Abdullahi. Hence he was nicknamed "El Hardan" (one who 
sulks and isolates himself). From Egypt Mansur passed up the Nile to 
the Sudan. The GAMu'iA...and the Mahass of Dongola each provided 
him with a wife and he begot six sons, Yasin, 'Ali Abu el Fahra, Hammad 
Asla'a, Sowar, Idris Serag and 'Alwan. These were the forefathers of the 
sections of KenAna now in the Sudan, excepting the Da'udia who are 
descended from 'Abdullahi. 

The Seragab section of the KabAbish are also said to be descended 
from Idris Serag.... 

The earliest Kenana arrivals in the Sudan are said to have settled 
finally at Gebel Kurun, south of Tekali, and subsequently to have come 
into conflict with a party of KawAhla settled in the neighbourhood, and 
to have driven them to the south. According to the Kenana "nisba" 
Mansur lived sixteen generations ago and seventeen generations after 
'Abd el Muttalib. 

Thus it would seem that 4 

some Kenana emigrated from Arabia into Egypt about the beginning 
of the fourteenth century, and pushed their way up the river as far as 
Dongola, and there temporarily settled and intermarried, and later split 
into various sections, of whom a part went south with their kinsmen and 
a part eventually attached themselves to the KabAbish. 

1 Burckhardt mentions Asala'a ("Aszale, *JL»*n)I") in Wadai and west of it 
(Nubia, pp. 479-480). 

2 The same name occurs among the Kababish and the Beni Helba. 

3 The following quotation is from my Tribes..., p. 168. 

4 Ibid., p. !86. 


Ill DEGKAYM. The pedigree of the Deghaym is not given in the 
nisbas, and in fact I have only once seen them mentioned, viz. 
in D2. 

In 725 a.h. (1325 a.d.) Ibn Batuta crossed the desert between 
Kus and 'Aidhab in the company of a party of Deghaym, but he 
tells us nothing of them 1 . 

Immediately before the " Mahdia" the tribe was living on the 
White Nile, and in 1881 they joined the Mahdi together with the 
Kenana 2 , but they were all but exterminated at the battle of Abu 
Tlayh ("Abu Klea") in 1885, and they have never recovered. 

1 See Burckhardt, Nubia, p. 533 (^o*£.>). 

2 The famous "amir" 'Ali wad Helu was one of their number. See Slatin, 
Ch. iv. 

The Rikdbia 

I The Rikabia are a distinctively Arab colony settled in Dongola, 
and having ramifications elsewhere in the Sudan, but they do not 
recognize the name Danagla as applicable to them and evince a 
somewhat exclusive pride in their nobility of descent. Their ancestor, 
they say, was a descendant of Husayn the son of AH ibn Abu Talib, 
the Sherif Ghulamulla ibn 'Aid, who settled in Dongola about the 
second half of the fourteenth century and conferred the benefits of 
his learning on the ignorant autochthonous population. He came to 
Dongola by way of the Red Sea from the Yemen 1 . 

II We have seen that the NurAb section of Kababish express pre- 
tensions to be an offshoot of the Rikabia. There is also in Kordofan 
a large but scattered family known as the Doalib, i.e. descendants of 
Dolib, with settlements at Gebel el Haraza and, farther south, at 
Khursi and Bara 2 . These also call themselves Rikabia. They formed 
a colony in northern Kordofan at the beginning of the eighteenth 
century and rapidly attained a very definite ascendancy over the 
northern hillmen. At the same time they took to wife the women of 
the "Nuba" and Shabarka 3 and so helped to produce the mixed 
population of the present day 4 . 

Other so-called Rikabia and related tribesmen from Dongola had 
probably settled at el Haraza, Abu Tubr, Um Durrag and farther 
south long before the main Doalib immigration 5 , but they can hardly 
be distinguished from the Danagla immigrants whom we have 
already alluded to as continually trickling into Kordofan under the 
name of Bedayria, GawAbra, etc., and may be here ignored. 

The Doalib in Kordofan were a very intelligent and capable 
family, and during the Turkish regime were given positions of trust 

1 See Introduction to Part IV, BA clxxix and D 5 (d). 

2 There are some of them, too, incorporated in the Howdrab section of Kaba- 
bish (q.v.). 

3 Q.v. on p. 243. 

4 It is they of whom Cuny speaks (Voy. pp. 46, 50, 142, 143, 158) as " Berbers," 
or " Dougalawi," from Debba inhabiting the hills of northern Kordofan and speak- 
ing a "rotana" of Dongolawi corrupted by Zaghawa and Kungara. So, too, 
Browne, late in the eighteenth century, spoke of the people of el Haraza as mostly 
"of a reddish hue" (see Browne, App. 6, p. 566). 

5 See pp. 93 and 94 (with notes) of Tribes of Northern and Central Kordofan. 


THE RIKABf A in. 7. ii. 

as tax-collectors and minor officials. The headman of the Doalib at 
el Haraza was also recognized as holding an overlordship over the 
northern hills, and members of his family to the present day hold 
analogous positions at el Haraza and as far west as the Kaga hills. 

Ill Other Rikabia have wandered to other parts of the Sudan : the 
people of Wad 'Ishayb, the 'Ishaybab, on the Blue Nile near el 
Kamlin, for instance, claim descent from a Rikabi feki who settled 
there about the beginning of the seventeenth century 1 ; but the main 
body remains in Dongola, and, owing to its alleged nobility of descent 
and the numerous holy men it has produced 2 , is regarded with con- 
siderable respect. The mere Dongolawi who wishes to represent 
himself as of good birth normally chooses to call himself a Rikabi. 

1 A biography of 'Ali wad 'Ishayb is given in D 3 No. 60. There is a small 
nomadic group of 'Ishaybab in Darner district (Berber Province), but they are 
said to be a branch of the Um 'ar'ar. 

2 See D 3 Tree No. 1 and references therein. 

The Hawdwir, Gelldba Howdra, Wdhia and Korobdt 

I In an earlier chapter 1 some account has already been given of 
the career of the Howara Berbers who settled in Upper Egypt and 
became arabicized. We saw how in Burckhardt's time they were 
in occupation of both sides of the Nile and were still rich and 
prosperous 2 . Until the time of Muhammad 'Ali they had been 
extremely powerful, owing chiefly to the excellence of their cavalry, 
and acknowledged no authority but that of their own chiefs. The 
family of the great chief Hamam Abu Yusef had " assumed the whole 
Government of Upper Egypt, south of Siout, and the Mamelouks 
had been obliged to cede it to them by treaty." Hamam also extended 
his authority into northern Nubia "which he several times visited as 
far as Mahass 3 ." 

The rule of the Howara was, however, accused of being oppres- 
sive and extortionate 4 ) especially towards the Copts, many of whom 
were used as slaves, and shortly before Muhammad Ali's accession 
the Mamluks attacked Hamam and succeeded in defeating and killing 
him. But they were unable to subdue the tribe as a whole, and it 
remained powerful until after the fall of the Mamluks, when Ibrahim 
Pasha finally crushed it. He is said to have slain 2000 of the Howara. 

II HawAwir. The Hawawir nomads of Dongola Province belong 
to this stock and preserve the tradition of their Berber ancestry. They 
are a large and fairly rich tribe of camel-owners and in the rainy 
season move to the west and north-west with the KABABfsH. Their 
main divisions are as follows 5 : 

1 Part II, Appendix to Chap. 1. 

2 Burckhardt, Nubia, App. in, pp. 531-533. 

3 Ibid. p. 135. Cp. Hamilton, p. 257. For other details see MS. D 4 ix. 

4 Denon, who accompanied Napoleon's expedition, on the contrary, heard of 
Hamam as a champion of the oppressed and of his time as a sort of golden age 
for the Arabs of Upper Egypt. They spoke "du temps du cheikh prince Ammam, 
oil on ne traitoit pas d'impositions arbitraires, mais de ce qui pouvoit fitre le plus 
utile a tous." (Voyages..., 1, 303.) MS. D4 describes Hamam as farming out 
Nubia in very cynical fashion. 

6 The camel brands of several of these divisions 

are well known, namely the Lam Alif (a) of the \ / \A it K 

Rubab and the 'erik (b) of the 'Abbasab. But the Y \ \ r* 

most distinctive of all their brands is the Kildid / \ '"~"\ 

mahgdn (c) which is used on the right side of the d DC 
neck by most of the Hawawfr. 




'Tamasih 1 


J Salhab 







III GellAba HowAra. The Gellaba Howara are more numerous 
in Darfur than in Kordofan. In the latter province they have villages 
between el Obeid and Bara and in Um Ruaba district. The people of 
these relate that their ancestors came from Upper Egypt, and claim 
relationship with the Hawawir. Their land they obtained from the 
Gawama'a some eight to nine generations ago. In type they are very 
dark and degraded and entirely unlike the sallow Hawawir of the 
north, who hold them in contempt. Their divisions in Kordofan are: 

) Adawia 


awlad kaysan 

From their title of "Gellaba" it is likely that, as they state, 
they came originally as pedlars; and in Darfur the majority of them 
are engaged in trade at the present day or live close to the capital, 
el Fasher. These latter, like their relatives in Kordofan, still remember 
their Upper-Egyptian origin. The chief branch of them is the Wahia. 

IV Kor6bAt. The Korobat are generally reckoned so cognate to 
the Gellaba Howara as to be all but identical with them. They are 
confined to the western Sudan, Kordofan and Darfur that is, and the 
greater part of them are settled in north-western Darfur near the 
Kimr border. 

Nachtigal tells us that they at one period inhabited Dar Kimr and 
were driven thence by the Fur 2 . Both he 3 and Barth 4 include them 
also among the " Arabs " of Wadai, and the former states they claimed 
to be of Yemenite stock. At the present day those in Darfur allege 
a descent from the Beni Shayba of Arabia. Their subdivisions they 
give as : 

'Abu Um Bukr 
Awlad el Feki 

„ Abu Amna 

„ Finei' 

„ Maskin 

1 The word means "crocodiles." Compare the tribal brand of the Mogharba 
on the Blue Nile, also of Berber extraction (p. 318). 

2 Sah. und Sudan, III, 455, ap. Carbou, II, 94. 

3 Ibid, in, 71. 

4 in, 545- 

ill. 8. iv. WAHIA AND KOROBAT 337 

Other Korobat live at Sherkayla in eastern Kordofan, and it is 
said that to their number also belong the Subaha section of the 
Hamar round Um Bel in western Kordofan. 

The people of Kaga in northern Kordofan, too, state that there 
were settlements of Korobat in their hills, together with the Birked, 
a century or so ago. 

M.S.I. 22 


The 'Ababda 1 and Kerrdrish 


I The Ababda are a tribe of Upper Egypt, but as they have several 
branches in the Sudan some brief account of them will be given. 

As being neighbours of the Bisharin and having intermarried 
with chem they have naturally come to be considered as of the same 
original stock, but the 'Ababda have very much more of the Arab in 
their composition than have any of the Bega races 2 and in fact prob- 
ably represent the Arabs who were settled in the Thebaid before the 
final Muhammadan conquest of the Sudan. The 'Ababda in Shendi 
district told Burckhardt that they and the Ababda of Egypt were all 
descended from " Selman, an Arab of the Beni Hilal 3 ." There is no 
reason compelling one to deny their connection with that tribe; and 
they appear also to have intermarried, as one would expect, with the 
Awlad Kanz 4 . 

Their northern limit is roughly the Kena-Kusayr road, and the 
greater part of the tribe frequents the country east of Luxor Diraw 
and Aswan, and the northern Atbai 5 . 

II The Ababda are divided into three main groups, the Ashabab, 
the Fukara and the Abudiin or Shinatir 6 . The Ashabab is the 
largest and most powerful of these divisions, and both it and the 
Abudiin-Shinatir group are practically confined to Egypt 7 . 

Of the Fukara the best-known branch is the Milaykab, many 
of whom are within the Sudan boundary, though there are others of 
them over the border and round Diraw 8 . 

1 The word '"Ababda" is a plural formed from " 'Abadi." '"Abadi" also 
means a Nestorian Christian (see el Mas'udi, ed. Sprenger, pp. 247, 251). 

2 Cp. Crowfoot, Some Lacunae..., p. 5. Such 'Ababda as speak To-Bedowi 
have learnt it from the Bisharin. Quatremere (11, 158) thought them probably 
"descendants of the ancient Bega." 

3 Nubia, p. 345. 

4 Burckhardt says (loc. cit. p. 145) of the KenQz, i.e. the modern modified form 
of Awlad Kanz, "They frequently intermarry with the Arabs Ababde." Belzoni 
{Narrative..., pp. 304-313) says the 'Ababda "never intermarry with any of their 
own people." 

5 Ibid. pp. 148 et seq. and map, and A. E. Sudan, p. 93. Belzoni (1815) speaks 
of them {loc. cit.) as extending from near Suez to " the Bishariin, on the coast of the 
Red Sea, below the latitude of 23 ." 

6 Some call the Shinatir a section of the 'Abudiin and others call the 'Abudiin 
a section of the Shinatir. " Shinatir" in Himyaritic means earrings. 

7 Burckhardt (p. 149) mentions individuals of the 'Ashabab ("Ashabat") as 
having settled on the Nile in Nubia and intermarried with the inhabitants. 

8 Diraw is the nominal headquarters of 'Abd el 'Azim Bey el Khalifa, the best 
known of the 'Ababda sheikhs, but he frequently resides at Berber. Cp. Burckhardt, 
pp. 211 and 345. 


It is this branch which from time immemorial has controlled the 
camel transport over the Butn el Hagar between Korosko and Abu 
Hammad and has thereby become wealthy 1 . A few 'Ashabab and 
'Abudiin live with them. 

There is also a considerable colony of 'Ababda, of a stock much 
mixed with the Ga'aliin elements among which they live 2 , based on 
el Hosh, a few miles west of Shendi. They number some 850 men 
and own perhaps 2000 camels and 33,000 sheep and goats. 

Until the second decade of the nineteenth century other 'Ababda 
were settled at Dongola, "where they had acquired great wealth and 
influence 3 ": these latter were compelled by the immigrant Mamluks 
to retire to Egypt. 


III Connected with the 'Ababda, though remotely, are the Ker- 
rarish. A portion of these were until lately in Upper Egypt 4 , but 
most of them graze their camels and flocks in the deserts west of 
Dongola and south of the latitude of Haifa. Others have long been 
settled on the Nile, more particularly to the south of the Mahass 
country and on Arko Island. 

" These Bedouin, a remote branch of the Ababde," says Burckhardt 5 in 
1 81 3, "pasture their cattle on the uninhabited banks of the river, and on 
its islands, from Derr southwards, as far as Mahass and Dongola, where 
they are said to be more numerous than in Nubia. They are poor... but, 
notwithstanding their poverty, they refuse to give their daughters in 
marriage to the Nubians, and have thus preserved their race pure.... The 
Kerrarish are, for the most part, in the service of the governors of Nubia, 
to whom they are attached as a corps of guards, and guides, and accompany 
them in their journeys through their dominions. ...They are a very honest 
and hospitable people." 

Others, he adds, worked as guides to merchants or made a living 
by collecting senna and nitre from the deserts. 

1 Isma'fl Pasha had 700 of them as irregulars with him in the expedition of 
1821. Cailliaud (q.v. 11, p. 51) characterizes them as the worst soldiers in the army, 
accustomed rather to trade and guide than to fight. 

2 They contain Hasanab, Magadhib, Sulaymania, Kanzab, Harirab, Bisharab, 
Mukabirab, etc. 

3 Ibid. p. 67. 

4 There are also "Kerarsha" near Tor in the Sinai Peninsula, subdivided into 
Nasirat and Awlad Tihi (see Na'um Bey, Hist. Sinai..., pp. 112-3). 

5 Nubia, pp. 30, 31. 


The Kerriat 

I The Kerriat form a small camel-owning tribe, the members of 
which at present rank as nomad Arabs and do not obviously differ in 
type from their western neighbours the Kababish and Hawawir. 

The name "Kerriat" does not, however, appear in the nisbas 
and the tribe seems to be really a heterogeneous collection of Arabs 
grafted upon some more ancient stock. 

Their grazing-grounds have always been, and are still, west and 
north of Omdurman, to the east of the Wadi el Mukaddam; but in 
practice they go farther westwards in the rainy season, and a few of 
them remain throughout the year as far inland as el Sana. None of 
them are sedentary or own any land upon the river. 

Their name suggests that the substratum upon which the tribal 
edifice was reared were dwellers round Gebel Kerri, the ancient seat 
of the Abdullab near the Shabliika cataract, and the common state- 
ment, which has also been volunteered to me by Kerriat themselves, 
to the effect that they are 'Anag by origin, bears out this view 1 . Their 
chief sections are the Adalin, the Mihaymidab and the Sonaytab. 

II They are wont to intermarry largely with the Hawawir, and it 
is noticeable that the most distinctive camel brand used by the latter 
is practically identical with that placed by the Kerriat on their she- 
camels 2 . 

1 At the same time such Kerriat as I have questioned on the point deny any 
connection between the names "Kerri" and "Kerridt." 

2 The Hawawir brand referred to is the kildid mahgdn, viz. 1 1 T, on the right 
side of the neck (see MacMichael, Camel Brands..., p. 31). The Kerriat place the 
kildid in the same place, but only on she-camels, in the form 1 1 P . 

As I gave no account of the Kerriat brands in the work referred to above, I may 
add them here. 

1. The Adalin. (a) On males: a short sdt above the thifina, a shurdba, and a 
khurus, all on the right. On the left a kutfa and a zaiayt (or zalat). (b) On females: 
the kildid as described, a shurdba, and a sot, all on the right. 

2. The Mihaymidab. (a) On males: a khurus on the left; and on the right a 
dukka on the neck, afera'a (i.e. tip of ear cut off), and a ddmi'. All or any of these 
marks is used, (b) On females : the kildid as described: some add a ddmi'. 

3. The Sonaytdb. (a) On males: a ddmi' and a s6t on the right, (b) On 
females: the kildid as described, and afera'a, a ddmi' and a sot, all on the right. 

N.B. A khurus is a horizontal cut half-way down the edge of the ear. 

A zaiayt or zalat, is a brand made round the back of the ear just above the 

The meaning of the other technical terms used will be found in Camel Brands.... 

The fact that the one brand which is common to the whole tribe, and which 
may therefore be called the tribal brand proper, is placed not on males but on females 
may well be a relic of a matrilinear period. 


The Southern Mahass 

I The Mahass proper, those living in the cataract country between 
Dongola and Haifa, are, of course, not Arabs in any sense of the word. 
There are, however, a number of Mahass settled farther south, 
particularly in Dongola, Berber, Khartoum and the Blue Nile Pro- 
vinces, who have become so assimilated by intermarriage to the Arabs 
that they are as worthy of inclusion in any work dealing with the 
Arabs of the Sudan as are most of the other sedentary tribes. 

The Mahass proper are Barabra, but Barabra containing much 
more of the negro and less of the Arab element than is found, for 
instance, in the Barabra north of Haifa or in Dongola 1 . As has been 
explained 2 , the causes of their isolation are mainly geographical, but 
it would seem that some few Arabs must at some period have found 
their way into the country of the Mahass and so given the latter 
some excuse for claiming descent from Kuraysh 3 or the Ansar. 

II At some early date, perhaps about the time of the foundation of 
the Fung kingdom, some of these Mahass, with pretensions to a 
noble lineage 4 and a certain amount of education, left their own 
country and established themselves as holy-men among the more 
ignorant medley of Arabs Fung and Nuba in the south. Thus arose 
the Mahass settlements on the lower reaches of the Blue Nile and 
round Khartoum, at Aylafun, where the tomb of Idrfs wad Arbab 5 
is still tended by his descendants, at Kutrang 6 , el Rekayba, el Kamlin 7 , 
Kalkol 8 , Tuti Island, el Halfaya 9 , etc. 

1 Cp. Burckhardt, p. 58. He calls the Mahass "perfectly black; their lips are 
like those of the Negro, but not the nose or cheekbones." 

2 P- 13- 

3 Cp. Burckhardt, pp. 64 and 133. He speaks of "a branch of Kuraysh" as 
" possessing itself of Mahass." 

4 They claimed to be Khazrag, i.e. among the number of the "Ansar" who 
settled in Upper Egypt (see ABC, IX, etc.). 

5 Q.v. D 3 , 141. 

6 The last syllable of "Kutrang" is said to be connected with "Anag." The 
old red-brick ruins here lie a mile or two north of the village, but are a mere 
shapeless mound. 

7 The original Mahass settlement here is said to have been known as Feranib, 
but the name has now disappeared (see, however, D 2, vii). The true form of 
"Kamlin" is "Kamnin" (see ABC, VI and D 3, 109). 'Aylafun, Kutrang and 
Kamlin ("Alfon, Cotram and Camin") are mentioned by Poncet in 1698 (p. 17). 

8 The Mahass, it is said, were preceded here by the Zenafla. 

9 See D 3, 154. Certain Mahass, too, have joined the Awlad 'Ukba section of 
Kababish (see p. 313, and "ABC," v and vm). 

22 — 3 

342 THE SOUTHERN MAHASS 111.11.11. 

To acquire rich lands on the river bank and intermarry with the 
numerous subtribes of Guhayna who pastured their flocks inland 
and cultivated a rain-crop in the wddis was an easy step. The 
same process has been seen at work in northern Kordofan, where 
immigrant Danagla took advantage of the nomad Arabs' ignorance 
of artificial irrigation and contempt for manual labour, except in so 
far as it might be done by their slaves, to acquire a hold over all the 
best basins of the Khayran at the expense of the Dar Hamid. The 
M ah ass in the same way forestalled the Rufa'a on the Blue Nile. 
In both cases the result has naturally been some degree of jealousy 
and dispute. 

Ill Though these M ah ass are essentially and always sedentary 
they divide themselves theoretically, and on the Arab model, into 
subtribes. Such are the following; all of whom are emigrants by 
origin, living south of Berber Province : 

i. Ghardakab 1 (a) MuhammadabI On Tuti Island, at 'Aylafun, Be- 
(b) B arakAt J shakira East, Shigla and Elti. 

2. Subahab (a) Darhalab. At H. el Nuba. 

3. 'Onab. At Beshakira West, and on the site of Khartoum before 

that town was built by Khurshid Pasha. 

4. Mirinab. On Tuti Island. 

5. Kh6galab 2 . At el Kubba and on Tuti Island. 

6. Wawissi 3 . In Kayli district, north of Khartoum. 

7. Genna el Hag. In the Gezira. 

8. Awl ad Fellata. At Kutrang. 

9. Awlad Mani'a. At el Rekayba. 

Appendix on certain Burial Customs on the Blue Nile 

Some of the burial customs in vogue on the lower Blue Nile may be of 
Nubian (Barabra) origin and due to the settlements of Mahass in those 
parts. They are not used by the Fung. Beckett (Cairo Scient. Journ. 
No. 59, Aug. 191 1) in an article on "Nubia and the Berberine" says that 
after the burial and the filling in of the grave there is feasting for seven 
days and that the feast is again repeated after forty days, "and this time 
all who come bring with them pebbles gathered from the desert around. 
Over these pebbles the Koran is read by the Sheikh of the village and each 
person then deposits those he brings on the grave, which is completely 
covered with them." Pots of water are put near the heads of the graves 
and replenished by the relatives of the deceased, and near the pots are 
stuck palm branches. 

On the Blue Nile, round el Kamlin, burmas of water are similarly 

1 Idrfs wad Arbab's section. 

2 I.e. descendants of Khogali 'Abd el Rahmdn (D 3, No. 154). 

3 A large sub-tribe. 

m. ii. in. THE SOUTHERN MAHASS 343 

placed by the graves and kept full for a few weeks after the burial. After- 
wards they are apt to get forgotten. The natives gave two explanations of 
the custom: one, that it would be counted in God's sight to the merit of 
the deceased that the birds should quench their thirst at these burmas; 
the second, that the presence of the water would alleviate the oppressive 
heat of the tomb. 

As regards the placing of pebbles on the grave, the custom maintains, 
but with important variations. Three instances may be quoted. 

1. At H. Nuba. (Between el Kamlin and Khartoum. Population 
Mahass, Ga'aliin, 'Ai'dab, Hudur, Kawahla, Rufa'a and ShabArka.) 
The cemetery was on the same site as that of the ancient inhabitants. In 
every case the graves of the present generation were covered with small 
rounded yellow pebbles, excepting the graves of newly buried persons. 
Asked the reason of this exception the villagers stated that seven months 
must always elapse after the burial before the placing of the stones on the 
grave. If unavoidable circumstances prevented this being done on the 
exact day it could be done after nine months instead of after seven. If 
not done after nine months it was too late to do it at all. To do it, e.g. after 
eight months, would be useless and wrong. The stones must not be spread 
on the grave by men or boys or girls (virgins) but only by the married 
women of the village. Fekis took no part in the ceremony and there were 
no particular rites to be observed and no concomitant festivities. The 
custom was said to apply to all the villages in the neighbourhood. 

2. At H. Kutrang. (About five miles from H. Nuba on the opposite 
bank of the river. Population Rufa'a. Village of Mahass a mile or so 
away.) Questioned as to the custom of sprinkling pebbles on their graves 
the people said these were placed on the grave at the expiration of either 
seven or nine months, neither more nor less. The ceremony was invariably 
performed by the old women only: at 'Aylafun it was done by the men, 
but nowhere else that they knew of. It took place at sunrise. The nearest 
relative of the deceased would be expected to provide some grease (dihn) 
for the old women and to kill a sheep as kerdma for them. The old women 
carried out the duty light-heartedly and laughingly, all working together. 
The same evening the sheep would be eaten and a fatha recited. The 
villagers would all contribute corn from their own stores for this feast. If 
a man were so poor that he could not afford to hold this feast he would not 
have the stones put on the grave. 

3. At Aylafun. (Between Khartoum and H. Nuba. Population 
Mahass claiming descent from the religious sheikh Idris Arbab, q.v. in 
D 3.) The people here said their custom was to sprinkle pebbles on the 
graves after seven months, or failing that after nine, or failing that after 
eleven. If not done after eleven months it was too late. The ceremony 
was performed by the men and not by the women. 


The Hamrdn 

I The Hamran Arabs are a very small community living near the 
Abyssinian border, but they have become well known on account of 
Sir Samuel Baker's description of them. He met these "mighty 
hunters with the sword" on the Setit River in 1861 and describes 
vividly their surpassing courage and dexterity in the chase of the 

The earliest notice of them, however, is that of Bruce in the 
preceding century 1 . He does not mention them by name but his 
description of them and the application to them of the name agdgir, 
elephant-hunters, by which they are still known, establishes their 
identity. He speaks of them as having regular (" European ") features 
and non-woolly hair and being "very swarthy 2 ." They were deadly 
foes of the Shangalla tribes. 

Mansfield Parkyns calls them 3 "a tribe of Bishary origin, which 
still uses the Hadendawy language, like its mother race. They may 
almost be considered a subtribe of Bisharin, for there is no separation 
between them." 

Baker says 4 : "The Hamran Arabs are distinguished from the 
other tribes by an extra length of hair, worn plaited down the centre 
and arranged in long curls." They carried round shields of rhinoceros 

II They were never a large tribe and their habitat has always been 
the banks of the Setit near its junction with the Atbara. At the present 
day they probably number only a few hundred souls: the majority 
were killed by the Dervishes. The survivors still bear the reputation 
of being as great Nimrods as their fathers were, and they boast them- 
selves to be purer Arabs than any of the surrounding tribes. 

III They claim to have immigrated from the Hegaz and to be of 
noble lineage. If the MS. " D 6" is to be trusted they are by origin 
an offshoot of the Harb. "BA," though giving no details, simply 
classes them 5 , with the Hamar, in the Guhayna group, and this latter, 
as there has been frequent cause to remark, is much mixed with that 
of the Harb. 

1 Vol. vi, Bk. viii, p. 228. 

2 Baker, Nile Tributaries..., p. 174, also notes their swarthiness. Parkyns calls 
them " deep bronze." 

8 Life in Abyssinia, II, 404. * hoc. cit. pp. 167-168. 5 See para, lxxviii. 



I The Rashaida are recent immigrants from Arabia. A number of 
them crossed the Red Sea and took up their abode between Tokar 
and the Eritrean border in 1846, and of these some pushed farther 
west to graze on the Atbara in Berber Province. Until the Dervish 
revolt they were a comparatively wealthy people, but they were then 
plundered unmercifully, and the survivors fled for refuge to Massawa. 
After the reoccupation they returned to the Atbara and the Kash, 
and they have since been joined by considerable numbers of other 
Rashaida from the Hegaz. Others are in Eritrea. 

They are camel-owning nomads and perhaps number at present 
between 1000 and 2000 men in the Red Sea and Berber Provinces 1 . 

The Zebaydia of the Eastern Sudan are also comparatively recent 
immigrants from Arabia, where their main habitat is round the small 
port of Rabigh, a nest of pirates between Yenbu' and Jedda. There 
their immediate neighbours to the north are the Guhayna 2 . 

II It has already been mentioned in dealing with the Beni Rashid 
and Ziud Bakkara of Wadai and Bornu that the former really include 
the latter and that one of their main divisions are the Zee- ada, who 
claim a Himyaritic origin. The identity of the names " Beni Rashid," 
"Rowashda" and "Rashaida" was also noticed; also the fact that 
the Zebaydia of Arabia are a section of the Harb, who have always 
been neighbours of the Guhayna and who accompanied the latter in 
large numbers to the Sudan and were equally concerned with them 
in forming the Bakkara congeries. It is clear therefore that the influx 
of Rashaida and Zebaydia to the Eastern Sudan is not confined to 
modern times but that it had its counterpart several centuries ago 
when the ancestors of the Beni Rashid and Ziud crossed over to 
Africa, and, instead of remaining in the east, pushed through Kordo- 
fan and Darfur and, leaving a certain number of their men among the 
other Bakkara in those provinces, settled in Bornu and Wadai. 

The name of the Zebaydia is a very ancient one and is taken from 
Zebid, a town in the Yemen. The town, in its turn, may derive its 

1 The section in Berber is the Zenaymat, subdivided into Duf 'Afd, Halamat, 
Duf Beraghfth, Huaygat, Kezafza, 'Awazim and 'Araynat. Those in the Red Sea 
Province are Bara'asa (subdivided into Duf 'Amri Shenanfr and Geladin), and 
Baratfkh (subdivided into Manaffr, 'Ayamirat, etc.). 

2 See too Burckhardt, Notes... 11, 36 and 37. 


name from the Gebadei, who are mentioned by Pliny as a tribe living 
on the west shore of the Red Sea in the first century a.d. 1 

III The brand of the Zebaydia camels is a curious one, namely 

vl/ placed upon the quarter. It is known both in the east and the 

west of the Sudan, and it is identical, but for the dot, with the brand 
still used by certain of the Beni Sakhr of Arabia 2 . 

The camels of the Zebaydia are also of a very distinctive type, 
easily recognizable. They are a small, thick-set, dark brown, tun- 
bellied, short-legged, hardy type and considerably valued for trans- 
port work. 


IV HadAreb. The name of these people is variously spelt Hadareb, 
Hadarba, Hadarma, or with a d in place of the D, and the nisbas 
unite in saying they came from the Hadramaut in the early days of 
Islam and settled among and coalesced with the Bega tribes on the 
Red Sea coast in the vicinity of Suakin 3 . Further particulars are 
scarce, and the above merely sums up what is known of their origin. 
The following is Burckhardt's account of them 4 : 

The inhabitants of Souakin, like those of all the harbours in the Red 
Sea, are a motley race; one principal class, however, is conspicuous; the 
forefathers of the chief families of the Arabs of Souakin were natives of 
Hadramout, and principally of the town of Shahher, the harbour of that 
country in the Indian ocean. They came hither according to some, about 
a century ago; others state that they arrived soon after the promulgation 
of Islam; it is from them that the collective population of the town has 
obtained the name of Hadherebe with foreigners; but the inhabitants 
themselves draw a strict line of distinction between the true Hadherebe, 
or descendants of the natives of Hadramout, and the other settlers, whom 
they term Souakiny. 

In a note Burckhardt adds : 

The people of Hadramout are famous for emigrating; large colonies of 
them are found in all the towns of the Yemen and Hedjaz. The greater 
part of the people of Djidda, and the lower class of the inhabitants of 
Mekka, are from the same country. 

The government of Suakin, when Burckhardt visited it, was in 
the hands of the "Emir of the Hadherebe," who was chosen from 
among the five patrician ("Artayga") families of the tribe. He was 
nominally dependent on the Pasha of Jedda and had little or nothing 
to do with the affairs of the tribe, being chiefly concerned with col- 

1 Pliny, Bk. vi, para. 33. Cp. Crowfoot, Some Lacunae..., p. 3. The root of the 
word is the same as that of zibda, the Arabic for butter. 

2 See Burckhardt, Notes... 1, 199 and Zwemer, p. 279. 

3 See in particular A 2, xxxvin and D 6, LI. * Nubia, pp. 433-5 and 449. RASHAfDA, ZEBAYDf A, HADAREB AND HUDUR 347 

lecting customs dues. The tribe was administered by its own sheikh 
and was on bad terms with all the Bega tribes of the interior. 

Earlier in the same work Burckhardt, speaking of Shendi, says 1 : 

The most substantial of all the traders who at present frequent the 
Shendy market are the people from Souakin, or as they are more commonly 
called in this part of Africa, the Hadharebe, or Hadharame, that is, people 
of Hadremaut, in South Arabia, from whence they draw their origin. 

He notes in addition that the caravans of the Hadarba also visited 
Sennar and el Obeid. 

V The Hadareb are great travellers, and more of them have 
wandered eastwards from Hadramaut to Java and India than west- 
wards to Africa. Zwemersays: 

Large colonies of Hadramis emigrated to the Dutch Archipelago more 
than a century ago ; intermarriage between the Javanese and the Arabs is 
very common; and the Mohammedanism of the Dutch East Indies is 
entirely of the Hadramaut type 2 . 

VI HunUR. The name Beni Hudur appears in el Mas'iidi 3 as that 
of an ancient and powerful people of Arabia of unknown origin and 
locality, to whom, on account of their iniquity, God sent a prophet 
in the Days of Ignorance. Him they put to death, but the prophet 
Baruch then applied to Bokht Nasir (Nebuchadnezzar) who attacked 
them and destroyed them. 

The term Hudur, as used at present, expresses little more than 
Arab traders from outside the Sudan. At Nuba village (Blue Nile) 
there are some who are said to be Howara by descent, and there are 
others at Elti and elsewhere on the Blue Nile. The town of Arbagi, 
before its destruction by the Shukria, is said to have been peopled by 
Hudur, and its founder, Hegazi ibn Ma'in, the ancestor of the GelilAb 
of Wad Rawa, is usually called a Hadari instead of being connected 
with the Guhayna group to which his descendants have attached 
themselves 4 . 

To the same group, therefore, may belong the Dafiri'a, Dekinab, 
Fukadab, Farisab, Garab, Keringab and such other small indeter- 
minate communities in the same neighbourhood as are alleged by the 
Gelilab to be descended from the same stock as themselves, namely 
from that of Hegazi ibn Ma'in. 

It seems more than probable, as their name suggests, that the real 
Hudur are merely Hadareb under a variant designation, though the 
term has come to be used colloquially in a wider and vaguer sense. 

1 Nubia, p. 319. - Arabia..., p. 77. 3 Ch. xlvii, Vol. in, pp. 304 ff. 

4 See B 1 and Tree. The Sheikh who gave me the MS. of B 1 said the Gelilab 
belonged to the Dubania branch of Guhayna, a statement borne out neither by 
tradition nor his own pedigree. 


£"?S ^ 4 ENGLAND BY J- B. PEACE, M.A. 

GN Macraichael, (Sir) Harold 

o52 Alfred 

A7M3 A history of the Arabs 

v.l in the Sudan